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Doctors push to keep mask mandates in school districts across the state

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 10:58 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Doctors across the state are urging school districts, teachers, parents, and their children to continue wearing masks because deaths from covid are still occurring in our children.

“We would encourage parents, regardless of what your school is doing to have their child wear the mask,” says Hattiesburg Clinic pediatrician Dr. Anita Henderson.

Henderson, who is also the president of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, shares a few numbers on the number of deaths we’ve seen in the state since July.

“We’ve had six pediatric deaths since July 25 here in Mississippi. The most recent one was on Sept. 25, a 16-year-old from North Pontotoc, a football player,” she says.

Henderson says while COVID-19 in children is generally a mild disease, it still can be life-threatening. She fears with the mask mandate gone, students will not only get COVID but the flu, as well, as we head into the season.

“Last year when children were masked, we did not see very many cases of flu in the state, really in the country. We are concerned about what we are calling a twin pandemic, where we might be seeing flu and COVID at the same time,” Henderson says.

There’s only one pediatric hospital in the state, and Henderson says it is full of children with COVID-19.

She says parents can help alleviate the strain by going to their school districts and asking for a mask mandate to continue for their children.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported three deaths in September alone in students between 11 and 17.

Henderson encourages all parents with children ages 12 and up to go ahead and get the vaccination against COVID to combat the virus.

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