Increasing COVID-19 cases cause concern for upcoming school year

Posted at 1:47 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 14:47:54-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Cases of COVID-19 are up in all 50 states, which has not happened since January.

Unvaccinated Americans account for most of the increases nationwide.

However, so-called breakthrough cases among vaccinated people are increasingly common as the delta variant spreads.

Doctor Mark Rupp, who heads the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Division on Infectious Diseases, said the trend in the state of Nebraska is going in the wrong direction.

Rupp said cases are up 133% from this time two weeks ago.

Rupp added that with the more transmissible delta variant now in the community, it's more important than ever for people to get off the fence about vaccination and just go get it.

"Hospitals are back to taking care of people like they did prior to the pandemic and that means they are largely full. We do not have a lot of surge capacity and even a small bump in the cases is going to heavily tax the system. Again, I would plea to people to look at the information and it's very clear the vaccine does protect from the illness," said Rupp.

There is also confusion about booster shots and whether fully vaccinated Americans should get a third shot.

This comes after some conflicting reporting from Pfizer and the CDC over if and when Americans might need another dose.

Rupp said it's not time now, but the American public should expect to get a booster sometime in the future.

Some counties across the country are now either going back into a mask mandate or at least thinking about it.

Rupp added if the number of cases continues to rise here in Omaha then we may have to go back and put in some form of restriction to keep from getting a surge.

Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending all children over the age of two wear masks when returning to school this year, regardless of vaccination status.

READ MORE: American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 'universal masking' in schools for anyone older than 2

This information is different than what the CDC said last week, which is vaccinated students and teachers are safe to go back to school maskless.

Omaha Public Schools is not requiring masks this fall but is recommending them for those that are unvaccinated, which for sure would be anyone under the age of 12 as that group is not eligible yet for the vaccine.

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