Parents are understandably concerned about when schools will re-open and how we can prevent the spread of COVID-19 when they do, but America’s top infectious disease doctor says we should not expect a vaccine in time for September.
“The idea of having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate the reentry of students into the fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said while testifying before a Senate committee this week.
Fauci says he is cautiously optimistic about an eventual vaccine, but not so optimistic about an immediate reopening of schools and other public places.
When Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul pushed Fauci on reopening schools, citing the high survival rate for kids who contract COVID-19, the disease expert suggested a more cautious approach, pointing out that the new “pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome” seems to be linked to COVID-19 and that more research is needed before he would be comfortable with a wide reopening of schools.
“We really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children, because the more and more we learn, we’re seeing things about what this virus can do that we didn’t see from the studies in China or in Europe—for example, right now children presenting with COVID-19 who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome, very similar to Kawasaki syndrome,” Fauci told Paul.
“I think we better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects.”
Dr. Fauci wants to proceed with caution and parents want their children to be safe, but the issue is complicated by the lack of support parents have now that schools and day cares are closed.
Motherly’s third annual State of Motherhood survey found that not having childcare is a major source of stress for moms during this pandemic. And mothers aren’t just worried about the work they are missing while they take care of their kids, but also what their kids are missing from the school experience. A third (33%) of moms feel the hardest thing their kids are dealing with is no longer socializing with their friends. They are also most concerned with their family’s mental health (31%) and nearly a quarter (23%) feel the hardest thing for their kids is a lack of structure/daily routine.
We don’t know when kids will be going back to school or if a vaccine will be available when they do, but we do know America’s moms need support from employers, lawmakers and school divisions.