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Pediatrician: Wearing a mask should be like wearing a seat belt or a helmet

Cases among 5 to 17 year olds keep increasing
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Posted at 10:14 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-21 00:23:20-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — The focus of the pandemic is shifting to the little ones.

The Department of Health is reporting more cases among ages 5 to 17 than ever before, at more than 6,000 cases for the week ending on August 20 - the same week kids reentered the classroom.

During the weekly press conference from the governor, Dr. Kimberly Mukerjee said parents should see putting a mask on their kids just as simple as putting a seatbelt on them when they get in the car or having them wear a helmet as they head out for a bike ride.

“And now we have new tools at our hand,” she said. “We have masks, we have vaccines. And we must look at these as essential tools in our toolkit to keep our children safe.”

Closer to home, Dr. Tina Stefanski, Medical Director for Department of Health Region 4, agrees: masks are good.

“It’s just really basic,” said Dr. Stefanski. “It’s really a basic tool that we have that’s very highly effective. And again, we’re at a dangerously high level of transmission in our community.”

Keeping kids safe, not politics, is what Dr. Mukerjee says should be at the center of every debate over wearing masks.

“I urge you to remove the politics, to remove the arguments from this discussion because no one in this room, in this community, in this state, would argue that the life should be anything other than prioritized and that that child should be safe and thrive in their childhood,” she said.

There’s a lot on the line, she added.

“One death is too many,” she said. “One child who falls behind is too many.”

Across the state, there have been more COVID-19 cases in the short amount of time school has been back in session this year than in the first two months of school last year.

During his visit at UL Lafayette Thursday, the governor said the only way to keep schools open is to follow the guidance from experts.

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