Early in the pandemic Lawrence Kleinman, MD, MPH, FAAP, professor of pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, cautioned that children were not spared from contracting COVID-19. Dr. Kleinman and colleagues were the first to look systematically at North American children requiring ICU care because of COVID-19, and with others among the first to describe the United States’ national experience of MIS-C (multi-inflammatory syndrome in children), a serious and unusual complication that can develop even in children whose COVID-19 was asymptomatic. In the year since, Dr. Kleinman has been a leading advocate and voice for mindful COVID-19 policy that helps to protect children.
In a new video from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dr. Kleinman discusses the risk to children’s health posed by COVID-19 and the Delta variant. He is hopeful that a vaccine for children age 5 through 12 will receive emergency use authorization during the fall and strongly encourages vaccination. He advocates that parents, caregivers, and all who interact with children, should wear masks even if they are vaccinated, when in public indoor spaces (including schools and stores), and when in close quarters with others outdoors.
As parents plan for children to return to school, Dr. Kleinman shares ways to mitigate the risk of becoming ill with COVID-19. He encourages everyone who is eligible to get a vaccine and that children and staff should wear masks while in school. Noting several outbreaks from athletic activities, Dr. Kleinman encourages the wearing of masks during indoor sports and outdoor sports with the potential for close contact.
He concludes with an important message, “Parents need to remember that coronavirus is still around, it can harm children and that masking and social distancing are critical to reduce the risk for children and the adults that are close to them.”