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The American Academy of Pediatrics released guidance on Monday urging schools across the country to mandate face coverings for students 3 years old and older, even for teenagers who have received both vaccine shots (children under the age of 12 do not yet have Food and Drug Administration approval to get a COVID-19 vaccine).
The organization said it "strongly" supported in-person learning, though it added administrators have an obligation to "safeguard" children and themselves from the virus.
"I think that the American Academy of Pediatrics, you know, they're a thoughtful group," said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on CNN. "They analyze the situation, and if they feel that's the way to go, I think that's a reasonable thing to do."
"Well, I think that is along the same lines as what we've seen with the health authorities in Los Angeles, which in the general population has said the same thing: That when you have a degree of viral dynamics in the community, and you have a substantial proportion of the population that is unvaccinated, that you really want to go the extra step, the extra mile to make sure that there is not a lot of transmission — even breakthrough infections among vaccinated individuals," the medical authority added.
The AAP acknowledged the "pandemic has taken a heartbreaking toll on children" in a Monday statement. The group also attested to the effectiveness of "universal masking."
"It's important to use every tool in our toolkit to safeguard children from COVID-19," said Sara Bode, chairwoman elect of the AAP Council on School Health Executive Committee. "Universal masking is one of those tools and has been proven effective in protecting people against other respiratory diseases, as well. It's also the most effective strategy to create consistent messages and expectations among students without the added burden of needing to monitor everyone's vaccination status."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says unvaccinated individuals should wear masks indoors at K-12 schools. Fauci admitted the AAP's recommendations might conflict with the CDC's guidance, and he indicated "confusion" could be caused by the differences.
"I think, you know, it's important, the CDC recommendations may be at variance with that," Fauci said.
"But you're absolutely correct. That does lead to some sort of confusion sometimes when people see an organization making one recommendation, in general, for the whole country and then local groups, local enterprises, local organizations, in order to get that extra step of safety, say something different," he added. "And you're right. That does indeed cause a bit of confusion."
As of July 15, children accounted for 0%-0.26% of all COVID-19 deaths, and 0%-0.03% of all child virus cases resulted in death, according to AAP's most recent data. Children made up approximately 14% of all COVID-19 cases throughout the country.
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Original Author: Jake Dima