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Doctors predict new COVID-19 surge as kids return to school

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 9:26 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - In a media question and answers Zoom conference Friday, two Nebraska doctors from CHI Health-Creighton University discussed COVID-19 and offered recommendations for parents to keep their children safe as they returned to school.

Some school districts around Nebraska chose to require students, staff and visitors to wear a mask while inside their facilities, but several schools didn’t mandate face coverings.

While it can sometimes feel harder to breathe when wearing a mask, Dr. Renuga Vivekanandan, M.D. infectious diseases for CHI Health-Creighton University, said it was nothing to be concerned about.

“Your oxygen levels are not decreasing, you’re okay and that’s not of concern,” She said. “As a parent who, a four-year-old and six-year-old, last year while they were in school, they both wore masks while all times at school and they did just fine.”

Also during the meeting, Dr. David Quimby, infectious diseases for CHI Health-Creighton University, said there was a study conducted in Germany claiming that increased levels of carbon dioxide were inhaled by kids while wearing a mask, but the study was almost immediately taken down due to methods of logic and problems with the study in general.

“We are seeing in other parts of the country who’ve already had schools open, like, there’s a couple areas with immediate shutdowns,” Quimby said. “To me, that is the largest concern.”

Vivekanandan said she had been keeping track of COVID-19 numbers throughout the country and had some predictions for the future.

“Looking at other states, their pattern, how the surge is happening in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, I predict that we are also going to have a surge possibly in the next three weeks as the numbers start going up, and also as all our kids go back to school,” She said.

Although nothing definite, Vivekanandan said she was aware of discussions and rumors that claimed children ages five and up would be able to receive an emergency-use authorization of the vaccination by early October. She added, even if a child’s school wasn’t requiring students and staff to wear a mask, she still suggested having parents speak with their kid about wearing one to best avoid catching the virus.

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