tv Washington Journal Ariel Cohen CSPAN August 30, 2021 11:15am-11:59am EDT
>> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these companies and more, including natco. they support c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> schools of opened across the country. this is the last monday in august. we are joined by a health care reporter for roll call to talk with us about the effect of covid-19 and schools reopening. welcome to washington journal. journal." guest: thank you for having me. host: safe to say that schools across the country most school systems are having in-person classes for the most part as
the delta variant takes hold and sprends. are we seeing school systems reconsider that? how are they confronting the this? guest: obviously this isn't the back to school season that students, parents, teachers, america sort of expected, the timing with the delta variant is not great but there is a commitment to having students back in school after a year -and-a-half away. so we are seeing big outbreaks of the start of the school season and have to flip to virtual learning. host: what some of the systems? guest: some of the southern schools that went back to early with low vaccination rates such as mississippi, arizona, florida, have been some of the first to see big outbreaks among students and teachers who have had to flip to virtual learning for a period of time. host: taking a range of approaches on how they're going to make students and teachers
safe. tell us about some of those measures. guest: the normal mitigation standards that we've seen throughout are important like distancing, masks. but some school systems are trying a weekly testing system. here in the district of columbia they just instituted a system where they're going to test ten to 20% of the students every week symptomatic or not just to see where the spread is. host: one of those also doing that is los angeles. guest: yes. host: los angeles the price for admission at the nation's second largest school district is a negative covid test every single week. guest: and that's for every student. host: where are the school systems getting money to pay for this? is this from the money from covid? guest: state and federal funds but this is very expensive. it's a burden on some of these school systems.
host: is there any evidence so far the kids that are able to get vaccinated so far droun to age 12. so basically down to middle schoolers. what do we know the percentage of kids between 12-16 or 18, high schoolers that have been vaccinated so far? guest: it's not as many as adults. i believe last i checked something like 8 million, 10-17-year-olds were vaccinated and that's maybe less than half. so at this point it is a public health officials are trying to get kids vaccinated after the start of the school year hoping to use this opportunity of kids returning to school, kids returning to their social activities to have clinics and get those shots in arms. host: talking about the return to school and the president's and the rise of covid-19 among students and teachers.
the lines to call. the numbers are on your screen. you wrote a piece about teachers, teachers unions in particular as schools reopened state laws and unions resist vaccine mandates. what have the major school teacher unions said to their members oobd vaccine mandates? guest: the two major school unions both seem to encourage covid-19 vaccines but they won't outright support a mandate because these unions they say have to bargain with individual employers and you can't presume to know why every individual teachers does or does not want a shot. but something according to the white house something like 90% are vaccinated which is much higher than the general population but there is a concern that nonvaccinated
teacher can be a source of spread. >> host: is there toveed support that yet? guest: there is. the centers for disease control and prevention came out with a report last week they did contact tracing in california and unvaccinated teacher who did not know they had covid-19 just took off their mask to read to their students and something like i believe it was all the students in the front row of the classroom contacted covid after that ins didn't and about half the classroom came away with covid-19 after that interaction. so that just really proves that a nonvaccinated teacher could be carrying the virus. and for these children under the age of 12 and not yet eligible for the vaccine that leaves them very vulnerable. host: months ago the c.d.c. agreed that the primary healthiest thing for kids to do is to be back in classrooms.
what's their major guidance in terms of the return to classroom across the country? guest: the c.d.c. as you said really encouraging to get kids back after a year-and-a-half and they would like to see those mitigation measures we know about masking, distancing, keeping a good air flow in the classroom, and anyone who can be vaccinated they recommend should be. and that includes teachers and students ages 12-up. host: we have a teacher on the line our first caller matt in slea. good morning. caller: good morning. i would say for me as a teacher we have most kids following mitigation strategies successfully, we've been in class for a week already, and i would say masking is good. i think for me personally i would like a booster shot so i would hope that they would push that faster for teachers, as i got mine more than eight months ago now, and then i think the
other thing is i worry for our k-of students we aren't doing that weekly testing like other places and i have seen delta kind of like wipe through those communities. i know it's less dangerous for kids but still don't want my kids to get sick. host: with a grade do you teach? caller: k-6. guest: thank you for that. students under the age of 12 like those you teach pfizer is the furtherest along in vack tin trials for students and the pfizer board member and former commissioner said yesterday that he anticipates that pfizer will have their clinical trial data by the end of september for that age group and hopefully submit an application for emergency use in early october. so if it follows that timeline we could potentially see a vaccine for kids that dage by the end of this year.
host: as you pointed out, on face the nation he made that news. let's show our viewers that. >> dr. fauci was on tv this morning talking about the potential for an authorization this fall. pfizer is going to be in a position to file data with the f.d.a. at some point in september and then file the application potentially as early as october. so that will put us on a timeframe where the vaccine could be available at some point late fall more likely early winter depending on how long they take to review the application. historically four to six weeks. as well as how much long-term follow up data they require on the kids. if they require a longer term on the kids enrolled in the trial it could take long tore get to an authorization. but the agency will be in a position to make an
authorization i believe at some point late fall probably early winter and probably they're going to base their decision on what the circumstances around the country to get to a vaccine for kids. host: it sounds like they're going to use sort of the same timeline they used for the vaccine previous. they're not going to rush this necessarily. guest: we don't really know at this point. it seems like he was just surmising here what the f.d.a. will do because the doge for children may be different than the doge for adults. it could follow the same timeline, it could take longer if there is sort of this feeling that they need to go faster that could happen. it's really up to the food and drug administration. host: let's hear from carl in hawaii. good morning. caller: i'm in hawaii and i have a few questions so if you can be tolerant of me. i wanted -- and thank you for
taking my call. i just saw a few days ago a posting that kim whose a physician and congresswoman has written a letter to hmp hs, -- hhs, c.d.c. for their plans about 50 billion and 16 billion for the testing for the rapid tests. and i wrote to the local senator here in hawaii for him to support her and by also writing a letter and getting the doctor to go in front of congress to teach hhs how to scale up the production of these tests the to make them cost less than a dollar apiece. the vendors would like to get instructions from the federal government so we can bring the cost down so that we could be using them in an abundant scale. i was curious if you could bring that up in discussion. thank you. guest: sure. so testing is one way that
school districts can really get a handle on who has covid-19, who does not. as you mentioned a letter from kim. congress will return next week so i assume we'll see a lot more activity especially as kids return to school. host: let's hear on our teacher's line. billy, go ahead. caller: i was about to say that listening to c-span "washington journal" every morning there's a lot of antivacks out there it's distressing. i got my vaccination, i don't want to die, i don't have a death wish but is there any political party in the world that literally outlaws rudimentary basic safety precautions like mask mandates? people say if you don't get the vaccination you're going to get covid. one of the siment thomas is side effects of erec tile dysfunction. the tell the that to the macho
antivacks out there. do we know anything about the simenttoms of covid in children? guest: so children are who do contract covid are much less likely to die compared to adults but one thing that is a major concern among pediatricians as you mentioned is the symptoms of long covid which are still being studied and obviously are constantly evolving. while it is rare in children there are concerns about heart disease, about long-term reps pra tray problems, brage fog, fatigue, something i've heard. this is something that is definitely a concern that pediatricians have. host: and is it true that kids are more susceptible to this variant the delta variant than they have been in previous versions of covid? guest: that's what i am hearing from the pediatrician that is i talk to. but of course the delta variant
covid-19 is going to target the unvaccinated. and who is unvaccinated right now in large part is children. and that's part of the reason they're much more vulnerable. host: jennifer has a different point of view. she text that is 99.94 survival rate in healthy children end of story unmask our kids. masking in children can cause more harm than good in every way mentally physically and emotionally. we hear from shawn in maryland. caller: good morning. we started off and you had asked about the areas that had infections. and you briefly just said some states. i would like for c-span to get people on here to give some facts and answers. tell us what state county how many people were infected don't just say florida, the southern states, and when you get to the infection portion, who did the
study? we don't want to know who you heard and scare people. who told you how many people got infected? i don't want to hear i thought or some other way that them words you say all the time. give us some facts. because right now people are getting ticked. i have teachers coming in talking about they're quiting. report about that not about what you heard or you think. what's facts? because right now i'm tired of this. we need people who can be held accountable. host: we'll let our guest respond to you. guest: so thank you. as you know these numbers are evolving constantly. the center for disease control and prevention and hhs as well as local school districts are counting these rates. and of course they're evolving constantly. the american academy of pediatrics last week said that as of last week that 180,000 children had contracted
covid-19 during that week. so that is a number from the american academy of pediatrics. host: and we'll be talking to the president of association that academy in our next segment. we hear from lauren in sparta, wisconsin. independent line. teachers line, rather. go ahead. caller: my question is this. are the scientists the doctors the members of the f.d.a. are they political appointees like the c.d.c. is or are they independent political bias? thounching. guest: so we do not have a permanent f.d.a. commissioner at this time. janet was appointed by president biden so these are appointed by the administration. but we do not have a permanent commissioner at this time. host: from minnesota, good
morning. caller: i just really believe that we need to support getting our teachers vaccinated because right now it doesn't seem safe we're not allowing the children to get vaccinated and so i think what this is a step that we need to take. and i don't understand the teacher who wouldn't want to do this and if they have some sort of valid exemption then i think that makes sense that we would consider those things because we have to. but i think not doing this i don't understand the teacher who would want to teach under those circumstances. and i worry for the children. but i think we shouldn't rush to vaccinating the children until we know it's safe. so i think right now i don't know i guess i would be worried about anybody whose not terribly concerned for the kids and wanting to protect them. and if you're a teacher and don't want to do that i guess
that's strange to me. maybe the choices that you need to consider resigning. but certainly under any exemption program there would be some protocol through some absolute reason you can't be vaccinated but you wouldn't do it. but that would do so much to protect our children. i think we should really consider that. host: ok. guest: so here in the district of columbia and sursurrounding suburbs they're asking teachers to get vaccinated. if they do not they have to undergo a weekly testing which is sort of a fail safe -- a fallback for teachers who are unvaccinated. i know that many other school districts around the country are following similar protocols. host: in west virginia, this is john. caller: i just have a question. as far as the mask goes i don't understand people's problems with wear the masks.
it's obviously they help you've been told since you were a kid to cover your mouth when you cough so that deflects your -- you don't spread your germs to everyone. so until the this vaccine gets approved for children i don't understand the problem of wearing masks. and is there any other thing we can do to maybe help speed up the process as parents for getting this thing approved? host: does the americans the disabilities act or disabilities education act play into any of the decision making that school systems are making on masks? guest: yes, that is a great point. the americans with disabilities act as well as others say that all children must have equal access to education. for example, in the state of florida where the governor put a ban on mask mandates in scoolts, a group of parents did take challenge this in court and say that under the
americans with disabilities act there are children who have high risk conditions were being discriminated against because they couldn't feel safe in school and a court actually said that the ban on the mask mandate could not be enforced. host: the director in a briefing late last week talked about their call for a layered approach for schools to use in terms of protecting kids. here is her briefing. >> evidence has repeatedly demonstrated that multilayer prevention strategies such as vaccination for all children and adults who are eligible, ventilation, physical distancing and screening testing work to prevent the spread of covid in schools. schools should implement as many of these prevention layers as possible simele tainsly and this serves to protect our
children even as there are inevitable preaches in any single protection layer. adding to this poddy of evidence two studies will be covered today to demonstrate the importance of consistent and correct use of mitigation strategies especially vaccination and universal masking. in the first report looking at covid cases in los angeles, we saw the power of layered intervention. school associated cases remained lower than cases in the community because of prevention efforts. in schools with safety protocols case rates in children and adolescents were about three-and-a-half times lower during the winter peak compared to the community. even when communities were experiencing high levels of covid transmission in the l.a. county study of layered prevention measures provide add shield of protection hoped to keep covid out of school and reduce the spread when cases
occur. in a separate report that closely studied an outbreak in a school in norp california we saw the multilayered prevention can result in spread of covid in the classroom and beyond. the introduction of the virus into the classroom by a teacher who worked in school while she was both symptomatic and unvaccinated and who was unmasked when reading aloud to the class resulted in cases both in the classroom -- across the school and amongst families of students and staff in the community. host: she talked about layered prevention. first she brought up the incident you talked about earlier in our segment about the teacher reading aloud. but she talks about this layered approach. part of that is this physical distancing. it would seem that schools want everybody back, they want all their kids back in school.
that's going to be hard to enforce a physical distancing a social distancing in many schools. guest: it is difficult. why masking is so important. air flow keeping windows open. and the weekly testing give an idea of community spread and where the virus is. a lot of school districts are also when there's a known case of covid that student is supposed to quarantine for a period of time and people who have had close contwacts that student as well which is something that we're seeing across the country right now thousands of children are already quarantining. host: it is back to school time we're talking about covid-19 and kids and students, the numbers are on your screen.
in new mexico, good morning. caller: thank you c-span. as a retired teacher i want to bring up the issues of my own school district in pennsylvania. they recently had a school board meeting and the people there, the parents and the doctor even testified in the public comment were outraged at the mandatory character of the masking. i think people aren't addressing people with valid concerns and valid opposition.
and are throwing not information but their own presumptions in opposition to it. i know as a special ed teacher i see very little real concern for special ed students, their placements are not being defined by their handicap and their education during this time is getting worse and worse. if you had separate day schools and you had separate class teachers would be empowered and the environment would be distinctly healthier for given the situation with the virus. so all i would like to say is that we respect each other and
that's not something that i'm not seeing out there. host: ok. response. guest: thank you for that. as you mentioned that children with special education plans and special needs may have a more difficult time wearing a mask in the classroom. but for -- and that's something that needs to be addressed. but for the majority of students wearing a mask in a classroom is an extremely effective mitigation measure and can prevent students from missing school through quarantine. host: the president of the american academy of pediatricians, on a recent piece writing about masks. she says masks are not breeding grounds for bacteria, reuseable mask ks be washed as children can start each day with a clean mask.
in boston, rick go ahead. caller: good morning. i want to make a comment about mask wearing it started with donald trump. he didn't want to wear a mask he got people talking about. now if everybody is supposed to be ruled by what the president says and does but he knows he has no medical degree and half the people in the senate running their mouth, people
running their mouth, shouldn't be talking about wearing masks. as far as the kids, one minute they can wear masks and then they can't. host: the heat of discussion continuing at the local level the headline from the associated press. hosstile school board meetings have members calling it quits. guest: so it's the debate over masks has raised a lot of tensions but some school districts we saw miami have gone against their governor's orders saying you can't have a mask mandate because they're saying this is important to the health of the children. we saw that first in miami dade county which is the largest school district in the state of florida defy the governor's ban on mask mandates before the courts stepped in. other school districts in arizona have followed suit. so there is a lot of political tensions and back and forth but
some school districts have stepped in and said no this is what we need to do to prevent spread. and the districts that are saying masks are optional that's where you're seeing higher incidents of covid in the classroom which is going to lead to more quarantines and disrupt the school year. host: let's hear from john in connecticut. caller: good morning. i just -- the folks against masks and the vaccine, i just want to say to everybody be part of the solution, not part of the problem. all this nickle and dime about what are the facts? what is that? no, the vaccine's work, masks work, the folks in japan have been wearing masks for years when they were sick. they're a very healthy society. folks, this is a national emergency, get with it, be
adults. i trust the vaccine and masks more than i trust the virus. host: we'll go to our teachers line. new jersey, liz you're on. guest: i'm a retired teacher. i think that a lot of these local boards where a minority of parents have shown up and are so vocal against masks and also the vaccine, they're putting politics ahead of their own children's health and the health of other children in the classroom that they share with other children. i thought regular ed and special ed students throughout the 40 years and in both classes we have significant numbers of young children under 12 who have health issues.
some of them have a 504, some of them have special ed plans that addresses those needs. the point is many of thement have things like asthma which interferes with one's breathing and the fact is that they had a problem before covid arrived. they had severe problem if they get covid. so i think the teachers should be vaccinated, the children should be masked, and i think that the parents of special needs students with health risks they need to be heard from. thank you. host: ok. guest: these mitigation strategies like wear a mask that you mentioned are exceptionally important in states that during the 2012r state legislative season passed laws preventing employees from
having vaccine mandates. we've seen that in states such as utah, tennessee, montana, and several others where state employees which include public school teachers you can't have a mandate on covid-19 vaccines. host: from twitter. guest: i do not have the exact numbers on normal flu but we know that covid-19 is not very deadly in children. something like less than 2% of children who are hospitalized with covid-19 actually suck m to the virus which is very encouraging but the concern is the long term health effects and the disruptions to everyday life in the school year. host: from bloomington, yin. go ahead. caller: my depranddaurt goes to franklin elementary school.
she's like seven. and they've been just going the governor gave the teacher boards the power to make the decision on masks, and they're just letting them not wear a mask or wear a mask. and i don't know if the teachers are getting vaccinated either because i live in indiana and things seem not right here. i wish people would wake up and listen to the health experts and do what needs to be done. host: all right. we'll let you go there. we'll go to jerry in virginia. good morning. wiveragetsdzwiveragetsdz i just
want to know. why don't they make the covid-19 vaccines mandatory for 12 and above? i don't get it. because you need every other shot to go to school. my kid had to have 3030-something shots to go to school. what's going on? guest: as you mentioned several vaccines are mandatory for children to go to school. and just this past weekend national institute of allergy and infectious diseases director said he does anticipate the covid-19 vaccine will become one of those routine vaccines for children. but at this point the vaccine isn't even available to children under the age of 12. just recently the pfizer vaccine became fully approved for adults. so it's still under emergency use tor school aged children
who are able to have access the vaccine those ages 12-17. so this is more of a process. host: typically with the other childhood vaccines who makes that call for whether it's required in the schools? is it the local school district, is it the state of the federal government? guest: that is at the state level. host: to ohio, laura on with us next. good morning. caller: good morning. i've got two comments then a question. in our school system children are not alloud, neither any employee, into the school system without shoes on, they're not allowed without clothing. and for the common citizen you can't walk outside your door without clothes on without getting arrested. what is the difference between clothing and the masks? clothing doesn't stop you from getting sick.
you're not wearing clothing doesn't cause anyone else to get sick. do you understand what i'm saying? host: what's your question? did you have a question? guest: yes i would like to know why they don't bring that up more that it's just like wearing clothes? it's on the same line. forget the issue of the vaccine. it's just another part of the uniform. host: she brings up uniform. is it texas where some of the school districts are now making the mask as part of the mandatory uniform? guest: that is correct. some school districts are making a mask mandatory as part of what a kid wears to school. and you see that often in private workplaces as well as we have to wear a mask on public transportation or airplanes. so it's individual schools and work places are putting these
mask mandates in place. but that's not something the federal government can do saying every time you leave your house you have to. host: let's hear from victor. caller: can you hear me? host: yes, we can. caller: i've got a question for the young lady. if it's mandated across the board, we've had the shot if it's mandated then that doesn't leave people a choice. because what person would like to send their child to school and catch it from a teacher? it doesn't make any sense. guest: vaccines are not yet
mandatory for adults. some school systems are requiring them for teachers or weekly testing in their place. to prevent that sort of spread that you mentioned so a student doesn't get covid-19 in a classroom where they go for learning and is important. host: do you know if the new school systems have brought up the issue of potential legal liability over teachers not being vaccinated? guest: well, school systems where the vaccine is mandatory such as in the state of california, i know the american federation of teachers is working with employers in chicago and philadelphia on these vaccine mandates, and of course if they are mandatory they are tied to employment which would lead to legal concerns. host: call next from brooklyn in new york. caller:
host: short port charlotte, florida then. caller: good morning i'm glad to get through. a couple of issues. it's optional where i live in florida which is a good thing. i've got a couple of smaller kids and they don't deserve wearing masks and it really is -- they have their hands all over it anyway for one issue. and it just doesn't make any sense. no sense whatsoever. i thought europe they have no masks and they have no issues for one. and what kind of studies douff that tell me that wearing masks actually stops the spread? douff any scientific evidence? that backs up what you're saying? host: we'll get a response.
guest: so the centers for disease control and prevention have done countless studies that show in conggat settings in the classroom wearing a mask can significantly reduce the spread among children especially if there's an adult in that classroom who has covid-19 and it's a layer of protection for children that is relatively simple and well-tolerated that can prevent a whole classroom from becoming infected with the virus, which is of course the worst-case scenario. host: on our teacher's line we'll hear from steven next. caller: thanks for taking my call my wife has a phd in immunology she worked on covid and sars about 20 years ago and she's been teaching and we've discussed this. one of the things we had a major concern about was she knows about drugs. she was right on the money when she said the original virus was
not natural it had to be man-made because of her experience with sars. she as die-hard democrat i'm a republican. we've had discussions for months, and she's shocked when she watches programs like msnbc talking about how dangerous it is yet it would have been something she recommended and she's a world leader. maybe you could explain why the news says one thing the public is hearing another and i'm hearing from professionals. it's hard to believe that wearing a mask is that effective maybe it helps but it's certainly i don't believe should be mandatory. host: all right. we've heard about masks. but what about where does high drosmy stand? guest: right now not recommended as a treatment for covid. there are several other therapeutics on the market that have been extremely effective
in treating the disease. and of course right now there is the controversy the c.d.c. put out, a paper that many -- or enough doctors were prescribing this horse dewormer to treat covid which is something that people should not be doing, that's not a good medication for humans. host: good advice to end on. read her r >> this year marks th anniversary of the september 11 attacks. join us for live coverage from new york, the pentagon, pennsylvania starting at 7:00
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as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat for democracy. sabio president of american academy of pediatrics. welcome to "washington journal." guest: thank you for having us here. host: how many pediatricians to you represent, your organization, and what is its mission? guest: the american academy of pediatrics represents over 67,000 pediatricians and our mission is to support the health and well being of all children. host: you're joining us this morning after news yesterday some positive news on the vaccine front for kids at least from former f.d.a. director scott got leeb saying pfizer