Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Monday that the highly permeable Delta COVID variant, first discovered in India, could pose a challenge to US schools given the low vaccination rates among children.
“I think the reality is that children are more likely to become vectors of these new forms,” the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner said on “Squawk Box.”
It’s only been a little over a month since the FDA approved Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for use in children ages 12 to 15. Moderna, also the two-shot diet, asked the FDA to expand its emergency use authorization to cover teens ages 12 to 17. Pfizer’s EUA initially covers ages 16 and over, while Moderna’s covers ages 18 and over.
“Old beliefs about babies and toddlers” [not] Driving community spread was based on the original strain of this virus,” he said. “With these newer, more infectious forms, I think we’re going to see that children and schools become the focal points of the spread.”
Are the Department of Education and the UFT preparing for this? What we mostly heard from UFT President Michael Mulgrew at the June Delegate Assembly is that we have reached "herd immunity." I haven't seen that this is a general scientific consensus.
I know many here and throughout the country are beyond COVID as "so 2020" but we need to know what the parameters for reopening schools in the fall will be so schools can plan. Will there be social distancing? Will there be a mask mandate? Will there be any vaccine mandates if and when the vaccines are cleared for regular authorization?
Will remote parents, the majority in NYC, trust the DOE enough to come back to live instruction? Also, if the Delta variant or another one is spreading in the fall, it will be kids mostly impacted according to Gotlieb as children under 12 still cannot be vaccinated. (I understand that Gotlieb is on the Board of Pfizer.)
One of my worries is that if another COVID wave comes, since most are done with COVID, it could get out of control before we do anything. It could quickly become March 2020 part 2. Lack of trust in government from all sides of the political spectrum has had and could again have real-world consequences.