White House officials worried about increase in COVID cases as kids head back to school


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Kids are heading back to school, as the pandemic still grips the nations.

“We need everyone to get the job done,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zeints said.

Zeints is calling on businesses to set up vaccine requirements for employees.

“Get off the sidelines, step up and do your part,” he said. “You have the power to protect your communities and help end the pandemic.”

President Joe Biden says experts will keep examining the best way to handle vaccine boosters.

“Should it be shorter than eight months? Should it be as little as five months,” the president said.

But White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says, for now, the plan remains the same.

“Nothing has changed about the eight-month timeline as it relates to the boosters,” Psaki said.

With cases and hospitalizations rising, so is the concern for children headed back into the classroom.

“We have seen increases in pediatric cases and hospitalizations over the last few weeks,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

Walensky says the health and safety of children should be a top priority.

“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,” Walensky said.

And with an 11% increase in deaths in just one week, Walensky says schools need safety protocols recommended by the CDC.

“And this serves to protect our children even if there are inevitable breaches in any single protection layer,” Walenksy said.

The COVID Task Force says these preventative methods will help isolate cases and make it easier to control the spread of the virus, so students can focus on school.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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