DETROIT – Beaumont Health provided an update to reinforce what other healthcare institutions and public health officials have said about using masks to protect against COVID as students prepare to head back into the classroom.
Beaumont Health weighed in on the value of masks to decrease the spread of the delta variant in schools as districts consider mask recommendations from other health officials.
“The idea that we have this entire population of people who cannot be protected by the vaccine and they’re going to make masking optional? In a place where they can’t keep social distancing as well, and kids, as you know are much more likely to hug and touch, get together at much closer range. It’s just not safe,” Dr. Matthew Sims said.
Sims is an infectious disease specialist at Beaumont Health.
“The fact of the matter is, it just takes one or two cases to start ripping through schools,” Sims said. “It’s just a danger that there’s no reason to take the risk of making this optional.”
He said that there is even more reason given the prevalence of the delta variant.
“If both people are masked, you’ve put a barrier in place and that barrier is in place whether it’s wild type or alpha or delta,” Sims said.
Pediatrician Dr. Sandy Patel noted the trend in the number of pediatric cases.
“If there’s more COVID in the community there’s going to be more pediatric patients affected,” Patel said. “I think it’s sort of a multifactorial answer that the mitigation strategies are different. Not a lot of pediatric patients may have natural antibodies, and of course, they all can’t get vaccinated if they’re under 12.”