DES MOINES, Iowa — The rise of the delta version and the start of the school year has dramatically increased the risks faced by children during the coronavirus pandemic, a group of pediatricians said in court documents presented in a federal lawsuit against Iowa Gov. said in. Kim Reynolds.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and its Iowa chapter filed a brief Tuesday with a federal court judge considering a lawsuit by 11 parents of Iowa children and disability rights group The Arch of Iowa. It seeks to strike a measure passed by Republicans that Reynolds signed into law in May that prevents school boards from enforcing mask mandates in schools.
In the document filed in the court, the AAP said that their review of the research and the experiences of front-line pediatricians “provide beyond doubt that universal mask policies in schools significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the school population”. ” The group said the prevalence of pediatric COVID-19 has skyrocketed since the start of the school year, with 20% of all child cases since the start of the pandemic diagnosed between August 13 and September 16.
“This boom appears to be due to two major factors: the resumption of in-person schooling (and especially schooling in places without masks), and the emergence of the delta variant, which is more than twice as contagious as previous variants. ,” AAP said in the court document.
The document states that more than 5.5 million child COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States as of September 16, which is more than 15% of the total cases in the country. Iowa has reported more than 56,000 child cases, the group said.
The testimonial challenges Reynolds’ longstanding opposition to the mask mandate. She has questioned the effectiveness of cloth masks in schools and suggested that it could cause harm, adding that parents should decide whether to make their children wear masks.
The AAP said the state’s claim that masks are harmful to respiratory function, to children’s social or language skills, or to children with anxiety lacks any scientific basis.
The AAP said that between August 13 and September 16, more than 3,200 children who reported hospitalization of children due to Kovid-19 in 24 states and one city were hospitalised. This data coincides with reports from hospitals in Iowa that more children have been admitted to treatment for COVID-19 in recent weeks. Data released by state public health officials on Wednesday indicated that 24% of the new positive cases of COVID-19 among children aged 17 years and below have been reported in the state in the past one week. . Ten children aged 11 or younger were hospitalized with the virus.
The AAP said that since the beginning of August, more children have died every week than in the previous week of the pandemic. Nationally, in 45 states, New York City, Puerto Rico and Guam reporting data, 498 children have died. Data from the group shows three children have died of COVID-19 in Iowa. Texas leads the country in child deaths from the virus with 79 and Arizona has 38.
The uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 puts children at greater risk for certain underlying conditions, including Down syndrome, lung conditions, heart conditions, and a weakened immune system.
Judge Robert Pratt on September 13 issued a restraining order against Reynolds and Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebow to block the enforcement of the law. They concluded that the law substantially increases the risk of many children with health conditions contracting COVID-19 and may violate federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.
He extended the order on Monday to October 11 and is considering a preliminary injunction that would continue to block enforcement of the law while the case works through the courts. Reynolds indicated she is determined to reinstate the law, saying she will appeal. At least 24 school districts have reinstated a masked mandate since Pratt issued a temporary restraining order.
All 99 counties in Iowa are seeing high rates of virus spread, according to CDC data. The state’s Wednesday data update shows COVID-19 deaths in Iowa increased by 81 to 6,563. The state said the deaths occurred between August 10 and September 17.
The mask controversy is one of several at play in school districts across the country, especially in Republican-run states, that have prevented local governments from enforcing mask requirements.
On Tuesday, a federal judge in South Carolina overturned that state’s ban on mask mandates, and on Monday a judge in Arizona overturned laws passed by Republicans that bar schools from requiring masks and the power of local governments. to enforce COVID-19 requirements.