As more children are being hospitalized for Covid-19, Dr. Mark Kline, physician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital New Orleans in Louisiana, warned against reopening schools without mask mandates on Monday.
When asked what kind of protections are needed to keep kids safe as schools across the country reopen, Kline cited Louisiana’s mask mandate for schools. He told CNN’s Don Lemon that it would be wise for governors across the region to follow suit.
“I think bringing together large numbers of children, congregating them in classrooms with masks being optional – or worse yet even, forbidden – is just a formula for disaster,” Kline told CNN’s Don Lemon.
“This virus that we’re dealing with now is a game changer, and it’s just so easily transmitted from person-to-person that this could truly catalyze an explosion of cases across the region,” he added.
Kline said he’s extremely concerned that students who are too young to be vaccinated will soon return to school, while huge numbers of eligible adults and adolescents in Louisiana remain unvaccinated.
“It’s one thing not to care about your own health or to think that Covid is not a threat to you personally, but maybe if you learn that it’s a threat to your children, you’ll reconsider the idea of not being vaccinated.”
Kline said 18 children are currently hospitalized with Covid-19 at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, six of whom are in the intensive care unit. He said the hospital has seen one child die during the current surge.
Kline said children and adolescents of all ages are being admitted for Covid-19 at the hospital. There are more of them than before — and now they’re getting sicker, he added.
“Half of the children that we’ve admitted have been under the age of two,” said Kline. “Currently, we have a seven-week-old and a 10-week-old in the hospital.”