CLEVELAND — The head of the Centers for Disease Control warned of a "pandemic of the unvaccinated" on Friday as the highly-contagious and dominant strain of the coronavirus has taken hold of unvaccinated pockets throughout the country, including Ohio. The rise of the delta variant has prompted new concerns about the health of children under the age of 12, who have not been approved to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
In a briefing Friday, the head of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said the seven day average of new cases was a 70 percent increase over the previous average. Although COVID-19 related deaths had been steadily declining, the number of daily deaths have gone upward to 211. Although this recent surge pales in comparison to the surge seen in December and January, this new spike has the potential to affect children not yet eligible for the vaccine.
"We are at a much better place than we were last year. The country is much safer in terms of COVID," said Dr. David Margolius, the division director of internal medicine at Metro Health. "The best thing you can do to help yourself and those around you is to get vaccinated to protect your kids."
Margolius said transmission of the delta variant faces more obstacles—or interruptions—as it spreads throughout the community. Those interruptions are people that are fully vaccinated. Although the delta variant has shown itself to be highly contagious, Margolius said the strain of the coronavirus does not necessarily make people more sick.
"The best advice for parents is to make sure that you, the parent, is vaccinated," Margolius said. "Your aunt and uncle, your cousins, the camp counselor and everybody else that you have as much control as you have, make sure those folks are vaccinated. Those are the best ways to help your children under 12 who can't get vaccinated."
Lindsay Baker, a parent of two children and public school teacher, said her family has already had conversations about what they would do if and when children under the age of 12 can become vaccinated. She said it was her 8-year-old son that made the decision easier.
"They are going to get the shot. My son told me way back in December that he would get it so he could see my great aunt who is 92. He wants to be able to see her without a mask," Baker said. "He screams when he gets shots. I thought, 'that's pretty big for him to say.' He's very attached to my great aunt. He said he wants to be able to see her and I'm going to go get it as soon as I can."