Fauci: 'We Need to Protect the Children'

By Susan Jones | July 28, 2021 | 7:52am EDT
Masked schoolchildren in La Puente, California (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
Masked schoolchildren in La Puente, California (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - CDC data shows that children are far less likely to die of COVID-19, and "that still holds true," Dr. Anthony Fauci told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday:

"It is true that, in general, the statistics that I have said, that when a child, or -- yes, a child -- gets infected that it is less likely that that person will have a serious outcome compared to an elderly person. That still holds true," Fauci said:

However, as you just said, correctly, Joe, when you have a lot of dynamics of infection, children are going to get infected. There's no doubt about that, and when children get infected, some of them, even though there aren't a lot of them -- some of them are going to get a serious outcome, and some of them are going to die.

We have about 400 deaths with children right now of COVID-19. We shouldn't make the false assumption that it's okay for kids to get infected because statistically they don't generally do as poorly as individuals who are elderly, who have underlying conditions. That is not the case.

We need to protect the children, even though it's less likely for them to get a serious outcome.

As of July 21, CDC says COVID either caused or contributed to the deaths of 337 children ages 17 and under since the pandemic began in January 2020. Those 337 children account for 0.667 percent of the 50,488 children ages 0-17 who died from all causes in that same time period.

On Tuesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky warned about the prevalence of the delta variant, and she recommended that "everyone in K to 12 schools wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall, with proper prevention strategies in place," she said.

At Tuesday's White House press briefing, spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked about the universal mask guidance for schools:

"There are at least eight states that actually prohibit their districts from requiring a mask in schools," a reporter noted. "So what are parents who have children in those schools, in those states, supposed to do?"

"I’m happy not to live in a state where that is the guidance," Psaki said.

"And this is new guidance that is being issued by the CDC today.  I don’t know how it will influence local elected officials in these states, but I certainly hope, for the health and well-being of the next generation, that they take a close look at the guidance."

'Absolutely confusing'

Surgeon-General Vivek Murthy told CNN the masking guidance for schools "can absolutely be confusing."

"The federal government actually does not have the authority to put mask mandates in place in schools," he noted:

Those are actually decisions that are made by local government. What the federal government can do is make recommendations based on the data in terms of what it thinks should happen.

And the CDC has actually done just that in recent weeks for schools, laying out, in fact, a series of layers of precautions that we have to take in schools to keep our kids safe. They include masks, but they also include testing, improved ventilation, and ensure we keep kids home when they're sick and measures like that.

The concern that I have as well is that if we don't take these measures in local districts, if local or state government actually prevents communities from protecting our children in this way, it's going to be hard for our kids. It's going to be hard for parents.

And I think about this, first and foremost, as a dad who's got two small kids who are going to be starting school in the fall. I want my community be doing -- doing everything to keep my kids safe, and I think most parents would feel the same.

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