Halloween 2021 may be slightly different because the threats of COVID-19 remain but Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that trick-or-treating may still be done, but some safety measures must be observed.
In an interview with "Face the Nation," the CDC director said it's absolutely alright for children to be outdoors for Halloween 2021. She hopes that kids will come out, have fun, and go trick-or-treating, albeit with some suggested limitations.
Walensky said that she would advise against joining crowded Halloween parties to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Trick-or-treating must also be done in smaller groups instead of large crowds to lessen the infection's chances.
Kids are Becoming Vulnerable
The CDC director's comments come as children between the ages of 5 to 11 years old have become vulnerable to COVID-19 following their return to in-person classes. As of the middle of September, over 5.5 million kids in the U.S. have gotten sick from the virus since the pandemic started.
Data from the CDC also showed that an average of 290 children is admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 daily. Among the new cases reported in early September, at least 25 percent are children. This number has slowly climbed as the vaccines for kids in this age group have yet to receive emergency use approval (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla said that data from their vaccine trials among 5- to 11-year-old kids should be presented to the FDA in a matter of days. Bourla believes that they are ready to manufacture the vaccines once the FDA signs on and accepts the results of their trials.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor in the White House, is hopeful that the children's vaccines should be ready by the end of October or at least around Halloween. He believes that Pfizer will be the first to receive the EUA, followed by Moderna.
Currently, over 75 percent of individuals above 12 years old received their first COVID-19 dose. As the U.S. returns to normalcy, vaccine mandates have been enforced in most states so that every individual can get their life back on track.
Science Proves Proper Mitigation Works
Barring the vaccine for younger kids, Walensky said that the mitigation measures adopted in schools are still working. She said that institutions that practice social distancing, masking policies, and other strategies to curb community transmissions do not have a surge in cases.
The CDC director said that 96 percent of U.S. schools with proper guidelines remain open to in-person classes one month into the new school year.
"We know how to keep [the children] safe," Walensky said.
In contrast, schools with no safety measures have three times more outbreaks and high chances of shutting down, as in the case of Arizona, where face mask mandates are not banned.
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