A report issued Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked a COVID-19 outbreak at a California elementary school to a single unvaccinated, unmasked teacher.
According to the CDC’s weekly morbidity and mortality report, the teacher who read aloud to her classroom without wearing a mask while exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms ultimately infected 22 students and four parents with the virus.
“The outbreak’s attack rate highlights the delta variant’s increased transmissibility and potential for rapid spread, especially in unvaccinated populations such as schoolchildren too young for vaccination,” the report stated.
By Sunday night, the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccination tracker indicated that roughly 52% of the eligible U.S. population is fully vaccinated, while nearly 62% of those eligible have received at least one vaccine dose.
The teacher, who attributed her symptoms to allergies, taught for two days before testing positive for COVID-19, USA Today reported.
According to the report, those infected included 12 of the unidentified teacher’s students, at least six of whom sat in the classroom’s first two rows during the readings, as well as staff members, parents, siblings and students in other grades exposed during a May 23 sleepover.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky addressed elementary school outbreaks during a Friday press briefing at the White House and implored schools to use the tools at their disposal to protect the children in their classrooms, USA Today reported.
“It’s human nature to protect our children above all else. And the best way to protect them is to get everyone who is eligible vaccinated and surround children who are not yet vaccine eligible with people who are vaccinated to effectively shield them from COVID harm,” Walensky stated.
“Universal masks in schools work to prevent outbreaks and reduce the risk of children bringing the virus home to others who are vulnerable. This is not forever; this is for now,” she added.
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