COVID confusion mounts as cases climb in MA

BOSTON — COVID concerns are creeping back into everyday life as cases have jumped in the last two weeks.

Masks in Provincetown are now recommended indoors regardless of vaccination status. And the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended Monday that kids wear masks in school in the fall. All this while Canada gets set to open up to vaccinated Americans next month.

President Merrie Najimy of the Massachusetts Teachers Association released a statement to Boston 25 on the American Academy of Pediatrics’s latest recommendation.

“The MTA continues to advocate for in-person learning as long as conditions are safe. The guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, however, reminds us that many children, their families, and their communities remain vulnerable to COVID-19 — and that they need to be protected. That is a public concern that we cannot ignore. All of our efforts must center on serving the common good.

Children of color, who have been hit hardest by the pandemic, as well as those not eligible for vaccinations, must be at the center of consideration for safety protocols.

In communities where COVID-19 has been especially devastating ​and where childhood vaccination rates are lowest, the state must do everything in its power to get our eligible students vaccinated by the end of the summer. Overall, we need to embrace all of the possible safety protocols​ — including proper ventilation, ​regular COVID-19 testing in schools, access to frequent handwashing and social distancing, and masking where communities deem it necessary or appropriate.”

—  President Merrie Najimy

“It’s so confusing, isn’t it? It feels like the pendulum just keep swinging from one direction to another,” said Dr. Shira Doron, who is the hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center.

And that’s especially true for parents like Antigone Grasso, who is a co-founder of the group Bringing Kids Back MA, a parents’ group that worked to allow students to return to full in-person learning.

“Even Gov. Baker came out and said he doesn’t see a reason why children would have to wear masks in the fall,” Grasso said.

>>>Related: State sees highest positvity rate in nearly 2 months following weekend report

She said the idea of masks in the fall - especially in Massachusetts, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country - seems contradictory.

“There’s a lot of conflicting opinion about what kind of risk is acceptable. What we’re advocating for is that it’s a family decision,” Grasso said.

What will happen remains unclear. With so much up in the air and with the Delta variant floating around, Dr. Doron said getting the shot is your best bet to stay healthy.

“So, if you dodged a bullet until now, you made it this long without COVID, it’s unlikely that you’ll be that lucky over the next few months,” Dr. Doron said.

With that in mind, she said all the data so far suggests vaccines are effective against any COVID strains, including the Delta variant.

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