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Children make up 28% of La. COVID cases; daycares and schools see impact firsthand

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 9:53 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -For months, students, families, teachers were well versed in practicing COVID protocols at The Love Center Daycare and Preschool. That is until co-owner Melika Honore says 2021 threw them for a loop.

“Coughing, the high fevers, they’re coming and everything in the beginning; now we’re seeing it in children,” said Honore.

She says outside of the shutdown, they didn’t have to close their doors due to COVID cases all of 2020. A couple of weeks into the school year and they’ve already had to shut down once.

“Teachers are suffering right now, parents are suffering right now, the kids are suffering,” said Honore.

“The cases I was seeing in children 0 to 18 is very troubling,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards.

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The Love Center is just a microcosm of what’s happening across Louisiana. 28% of the COVID cases statewide are children under 18.

“It’s all the more reason we have to do what we can to protect kids. We need to be very mindful of the fact about 2.2 million Louisianans have received a shot, not a single Louisiana and under 12 has received a vaccine,” said Edwards.

“There’s no doubt at all with the data we have right now that younger individuals, even as long as influence of getting COVID and are spreading COVID particularly to the families,” said Joseph Kanter, M.D.

Pediatricians remind adults that children are carrying a heavy burden from this pandemic, saying debating masks and other mitigation measures in schools and daycares are doing more harm than good.

“We have a large responsibility here to really mitigate that disease burden so we can also mitigate the impact that COVID has on children and all of these other factors,” said Kimberly A. Mukerjee, M.D.

“Dealing with little ones, we’re talking about social-emotional hugging, kissing, and showing affection. I don’t have to tell you that’s not happening at all, so of course, when you have children running to you to hug you, you have to be like ok, and that’s heartbreaking,” said Honore.

As children under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated, state and health leaders say people around them need to be vaccinated and wear masks.

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