BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama’s doctors are worried about children being infected with the delta variant as students head back to school amid a national rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
President of the Alabama Hospital Association Dr. Don Williamson told CBS 42 there are 33 children hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alabama as of Monday.
Williamson said that the number of children hospitalized in the past two weeks has been alarming.
“The number has been consistently higher, 28-38 over that period. And that’s higher than it had been a month ago,” Williamson explained.
Early on in the pandemic, there were reports that children typically don’t get as sick as adults from COVID-19, but doctors advise the delta variant is much more aggressive.
“Clearly, more children are getting this delta variant than the original variant because it’s more infectious,” Dr. Williamson told CBS 42.
Dr. David Kimberlin, Co-director of UAB and Children’s of Alabama’s Divison of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, believes stricter mask guidelines need to be enforced in schools.
In a news conference on Tuesday, he pleaded with local districts to update their masking policies.
“Those school districts that have not yet required mandatory masking, I beg them to listen to the uniformity of voice here,” Kimberlin stated. “This is totality of commitment that masking, mandatory universal masking in schools, is our best way into and through what is immediately in front of us.”
Both Dr. Williamson and Dr. Kimberlin stress mask wearing, regardless of vaccination status, and vaccinations for everyone 12 years of age and up are the best ways to protect children.