According to a new report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an unvaccinated teacher at an elementary school in California transferred the coronavirus to at least 26 more people, including 12 students.
The agency stated that the incident shows the critical nature of vaccination of school employees in order to protect young children who are not yet eligible for immunizations when schools reopen following a fresh statewide outbreak caused by the ultra-contagious Delta form.
According to the CDC, the incidence occurred in Marin County, a suburb of San Francisco.
The teacher attended social activities between May 13 and 16, became ill on May 19 but did not get a COVID test until May 21, first believing the symptoms were caused by allergies.
“On occasion during this time, the teacher read aloud unmasked to the class despite school requirements to mask while indoors,” the study said.
In the days that followed, among the teacher’s 24 students, all of whom were ineligible for vaccination due to their age, 22 were tested and 12 were discovered to be positive for the virus.
Eight out of ten children in the first two rows tested positive, representing an 80 percent assault rate, as well as four out of fourteen students in the three back rows.
Students were obliged to wear masks, desks were spaced six feet apart, windows on both sides of the classroom were opened, and a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter was placed in front of the class white board.
Six students from different grade tested positive as well.
It was unclear how the virus travelled between the two classes, with researchers speculating on a possible encounter at school.
However, genetic sequencing of the available samples established that they were all part of the same outbreak and implicated the Delta variation.
Additionally, eight additional cases were discovered among parents and siblings of children in the second and third grades. Three of the four afflicted parents were completely vaccinated.
81 percent of infected individuals experienced symptoms, with fever being the most frequently reported, followed by cough, headache, and sore throat.
Nobody was hospitalized as a result of the pandemic.
The CDC stated that the outbreak was likely underestimated due to voluntary testing.
“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,” said the report’s authors.
They emphasized the importance of multi-pronged mitigation techniques, including mask use, distance and ventilation, and staying home while sick.
A second CDC research, also released Friday, was cited as an example of what happens when best practises are followed by the agency’s director Rochelle Walensky.
It revealed that during the winter pandemic’s peak, child and adolescent case rates in Los Angeles County schools were roughly 3.5 times lower than in the surrounding community.
“We know what works. Now let us unify together to follow these steps to ensure fundamentally that our children and our future are safe,” said Walensky at a press briefing.
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