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Birmingham Doctor: Students need to be learning in person

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2021 at 5:11 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A Birmingham doctor urged schools to make masks mandatory as the COVID-19 delta variant spread rapidly through the state putting children at increased danger.

Dr. David Kimberlin with Children’s of Alabama is pleading for parents to listen to medical professionals when it comes to their health and the health of their children.

Kimberlin believes universal mask mandates were necessary in schools to keep students safe.

Fearing a return to early pandemic conditions, Dr. Kimberlin, said the school systems would do a disservice to children forced back into virtual or remote learning.

“Homeschooling, virtual learning is inferior to in-person learning. It’s inferior from an educational standpoint, from a mental health and psychological standpoint from a socialization standpoint, from a physical health standpoint from a nutritional standpoint, you name it,” Dr. Kimberlin explained.

Kimberlin believed the best way to keep children physically in the classroom, as safe as possible from COVID-19 and learning, was for schools to make masks mandatory.

“It doesn’t do us very much good to launch into a school year only to have to stop in person learning because the virus is running crazy throughout the school. It’s better to be thoughtful the way we approach it to try to keep children in school,” he added.

Dr. Kimberlin said he did expect cases of COVID-19 in schools, even with masks, because the Delta variant is still highly contagious.

As of Tuesday night, there were 17 children in Children’s of Alabama fighting COVID-19, according to a hospital spokesperson.

In the beginning of the pandemic health professionals considered children to be mostly carriers because many of them contracted the virus but didn’t show any symptoms or had mild illnesses.

“Delta is different. A different type of virus than what we faced last year. What we faced last winter. Think about how difficult it was then. It’s going to be worse now,” said Kimberlin.

Dr. Kimberlin said the Delta variant was landing more children in the hospital.

“The Delta Variant is hyper-transmissible. It is infecting more children. It may be making each child who is infected more sicker, or it may not. That’s not determined yet. It appears that the Delta Variant can make adults more sick. Twice as likely to go into the hospital, four times as likely to end up in the ICU, twice as likely to die,” He explained.

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