Earlier this year, I was feeling incredibly optimistic. The end of the pandemic looked like it might actually be in sight, as vaccines were rolled out across the country more quickly than expected and case numbers were steadily decreasing. This is finally going to be over, I thought, feeling comforted by the news for the first time in ages. After a long winter, I was ready for a double-vax summer and felt confident that we were headed towards a slightly more normal school year.
Instead, anxiety and frustration have taken over again as the Delta variant has caused case numbers to surge and there is no clear plan to keep kids safe from this highly contagious variant when they head back to school.
We’ve heard the Delta variant will “find the unvaccinated”—but right now that includes millions of Canadian children who are too young to get the vaccine. Meanwhile, thousands of kids are being hospitalized with the Delta variant in the U.S. and paediatric cases are surging. It is not yet clear if the Delta variant itself is more dangerous to kids or it’s simply causing more hospitalizations because it’s so much more contagious (and therefore, a lot more kids are getting it). To be honest, I’m not sure how much the distinction matters to me because either way, kids are at higher risk than they were before. Children with asthma and other chronic conditions are particularly vulnerable. This isn’t fear-mongering—it’s factual information that cannot be ignored, particularly as schools reopen with minimal protections in place.