(NewsNation Now) — Inside a Ft Lauderdale, Florida hospital room, Paulina Velasquez, 15, is in the ICU battling COVID-19.
She’s been here since the beginning of the month. Her parents are vaccinated, but she is not.
Cases like Velasquez’s are part of the reason parents are so fired up around the country about whether masks should be required in schools. Some say children, while at less risk of severe disease than adults, need to be protected. Others are eager to put restrictions and mandates behind them.
“These kids are not impacted,” one parent said. “Please stop the insanity. You have already done damage to these kids by having them wear masks.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend masks in school because of the surge from the delta variant. However, children with no underlying medical conditions getting sick from COVID-19 is rare, and some parents say masking up should be a choice.
The CDC says transmission within schools is typically lower than in other parts of the community, but some doctors say masking up is still safest — especially since kids under 12 still can’t get the vaccine.
“It is just so incredibly heartbreaking to know that every pediatric death is likely preventable,” Dr. Katrina Green said. “Not masking up in schools will lead to further spread of this virus and more people will die.”
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