BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – In his weekly COVID update, Governor John Bel Edwards said there has been a drop in COVID cases and hospitalizations, but he said he’s not quite ready to call it a trend. He doubled down on the mask mandate in schools.
“We cannot keep our schools open and our kids safe without masks,” said Gov. Edwards.
As of this week, children under 17 made up 28% of new cases. The American Academy of Pediatrics came out in support of the mask mandate in schools since more children are ending up in the hospital due to the high rate of infection across the state.
“There is no question that children have carried the heaviest weights of this pandemic in so many ways,” Dr. Kimberly Muckerjee said.
So far, with a third of schools reporting, there have been 2,444 cases reported including students. Gov. Edwards said that this past week in school more cases were reported than last school year.
Louisiana is no longer leading the country in new cases as Mississippi takes that spot. Dr. Joseph Kanter said it won’t take much to get back to first.
Two public meetings over masking kids turned to chaos this week. The governor said in response to parents saying it is their right to choose masks for their kids, there are limits to rights when it puts others in danger.
“There is no right to unreasonably endanger the lives of others, that doesn’t exist,” Gov. Edwards said.
He stresses that the healthcare system is still greatly overwhelmed and masking is needed to slow the spread while people work to get fully vaccinated in the meantime.
Gov. Edwards discussed the monoclonal antibodies and how effective they can be for someone who contracts the virus. The infusion can be received in an early COVID diagnosis and reduce the severity of your symptoms and possible hospitalization.
The Biden Administration is rolling out COVID-19 booster shots for those who received the Pfizer and Moderna shots. Anyone with moderate or severe immunosuppression can sign up to get a third dose in Louisiana now. There are talks on the federal level to make a booster shot available to anyone eight months after their second dose.
Dr. Kanter said things have to be done before that can happen and it could be several weeks before it gets approval. As of now, booster shots for those who received Johnson & Johnson are not available. Data is currently being reviewed to decide if or when they will be needed.