Updated: Dec 9, 2021
Since the COVID-19 vaccine for younger children (ages 5 -12) is on its way to being authorized, we are continuing to rely on other measures to keep our kids safe during the pandemic. Although children are not as severely impacted by COVID-19 infection as adults, some have developed and are at risk of developing a fatal condition called Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome days to weeks after the initial exposure or infection with SARS-CoV-2, and frequent circulation of the virus among them poses the threat of emerging fatal variants.
Scientists believe that the most effective way to detect the virus early among children is universal asymptomatic screening. Both real-world testing data and computer simulations of different testing scenarios have shown that routine COVID-19 testing detects the virus significantly more and reduces in-school virus transmission by up to 100%. Unfortunately, despite the availability of necessary testing technology and expansive funding from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan, there are still very few universal testing plans employed by school districts throughout the country. Despite many challenges, scientists urge school leaders and policymakers to establish a strategy to implement universal testing during the current school year and beyond.
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