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As Summer Programming Begins, Milwaukee County Health Official Says It's Critical Unvaccinated Kids Wear Masks Indoors

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Dr. Weston says for summer programming indoors, a mask requirement is critical for kids.

The state of COVID-19 in Milwaukee County continues to improve according to health officials.

Dr. Ben Weston of the Medical College of Wisconsin spoke during a media update Thursday, and reported an average of 19 new cases and about one death every two days.

But Weston said COVID-19 stills poses a threat to unvaccinated groups, such as children under 12 years old. He said recently, some school systems and recreational departments have changed their masking policies from required to encouraged — citing the CDC’s latest mask guidance. The latest is that fully vaccinated people can gather without wearing masks or social distancing.

Weston said while the officials making the changes may be well intentioned, they’re “misunderstanding” the CDC guidance. He pointed out the CDC recommends universal mask use among children.

And Weston said for summer programming indoors, a mask requirement is critical for kids.

"So, a few facts are important here," he said. "Fact number one: Not a single child under the age of 12 has been vaccinated against COVID-19. Fact number two: While acute disease is mild in children, long-term effects of this virus on a child’s lung capacity, heart function, immune system — these are largely unknown."

Weston added that there is also currently a deadlier strain, the Delta strain, making its way across the country.

And another fact, he said, is that kids ages 5 to 11 in Milwaukee County have more than twice the positivity rate as the general county population.

Teran Powell joined WUWM in the fall of 2017 as the station’s very first Eric Von Broadcast Fellow. She became WUWM's race and ethnicity reporter in 2018.
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