Thursday, August 26, 2021

Andy Slavitt's Twitter thread - 08/25/21

Via Andy Slavitt, a worthy Twitter thread to share:

  • COVID Update: There are few more important or sensitive topics than kids & their health. They are being made pawns in a dangerous game. We need to be put a stop to it. 1/
  • There is a fairly loud camp that believes the focus on kids is overblown & mask mandates are harmful. Much of their logic if there is any has to turn on the fact that very very few kids have died from COVID. Thankfully most indeed recover. That argument misses a lot. 2/
  • Let’s start with data. There were over 130,000 reported cases of COVID-19 in kids this week. Up 4x from a month ago. But we’re just getting started & before school is back in much of the country. 3/
  • A number of these cases turn serious. Between 1/2%-2% of kids end up hospitalized & they are out of room for kids in much of the Southeast. And some kids get MIS-C or any of a number of other ailments that hit adults— from kidney disease to brain issues to cardiac issues. 4/
  • So there are say 1-2 thousand kids being hospitalized every week. And frankly we’re just getting started. About 1% of those stricken with the polio virus got paralysis. We used to think that was important. 5/
  • What’s that look like? I called a pediatrician virologist in Alabama Children’s today. He walked me through it. Many of us have been to an ER with our kids & when they can’t be seen for hours & it’s chaos. This feels worse. 6/
  • Pediatricians describe kids with SARS-CoV-2 who can’t get their breath & are scared. Doug Ducey is bribing schools now not to require masks. He should step foot for a hot second inside a Children’s Hospital & face the families there & listen for an hour. 7/ 
  • If you’ve taken your child into the hospital with swine flu or RSV, you know it’s no picnic. (Our sons have had both) If they have to stay the night, it’s generally because of their labored breathing & high fever. Being sent home because there’s no room is terrifying. 8/
  • Unlike earlier respiratory viruses, pediatricians tell me that with SARS-CoV-2 & you add an array of potential mysteries, an immune system that is confused and a limited array of medicines. Generally no monoclonals. Steroids & some traditional drugs. 9/
  • Parents ask questions that don’t have answers. We count on the child’s immune system to be in working order. No pediatrician I’ve talked to has seen a vaccinated kid in the hospital. Many of course are under 12 & have no choice. 10/
  • Yet, to Ducey-DeSantis-Abbott, hospitalized kids are like school shootings— the price of freedom. And the numbers suggest most schools that don’t take precautions will have families in this situation 11/
  • Because the costs are so patently low & the solutions so patently clear, its even harder to squint your eyes & imagine someone arguing a child sick enough to be hospitalized doesn’t require action. But here we are. 12/
  • The basics of protecting kids @school are known to everyone. 1- vaccinate adults. Lower prevalence will keep kids the safest 2- vaccinate kids 12 & up. Very very few vaccinated kids are hospitalized. 3- require kids & teachers to wear masks. 4- Mitigate schools w 8+ measures 13/
  • For schools who have adopted those measures (ventilation, eating, masks, etc), studies show there is almost no spread in schools. (Delta might challenge that near zero result— we don’t know). 14/
  • Arguments that kids shouldn’t miss in person learning are right on. But when they’re made by an adult who hasn’t been vaccinated & doesn’t support these measures, be clear they think it’s important enough to say but just not important enough to do something about. 15/
  • The idea that masks are harmful to kids (usually according to some obscure study of 14 kids in a journal no one has heard of or peer reviewed) doesn’t stand up to the science of respiratory viruses. It’s an argument made by people who feel they shouldn’t have to bother. 16/
  • We are constantly reminded of the non-illness scars on kids from the pandemic. Missing school, mental health, missing friends, losing parents. This is sadly all true but it doesn’t make the argument anti-mask/vax people think it does. 17/
  • Getting kids back to school safely would be maybe the one thing we might imagine everyone agrees on. But the fact that we have the tools & don’t use them says it all. 18/
  • Adults should add to the list that kids can see their considerations are the bottom of anyone’s concerns— if they appear at all. When adults won’t get themselves vaccinated even to keep kids safe, it sends a clear message to kids how little they matter. 19/
  • And they will have many years to remember & thank us as we age. /end

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