SMMUSD made the right choice to protect our children

I am the father of a 4 year old child. Like everyone else, I have experienced the different stages of COVID: fear, uncertainty, then COVID fatigue. I wonder when we can get back to “normal” and not have to wear masks everywhere. I long for the day when I will not have to fear a new seasonal variant that threatens my aging parents and my child, still too young to be vaccinated. But I’m also a doctor in a safety net hospital that has been treating COVID since it entered our lives. I know the reality of COVID because I’ve seen it up close.

I have seen people scavenge for air like a fish on dry land, their chests heaving and sagging, but never having enough oxygen. I have watched my colleagues collapse after watching another patient die or suffer irreparable damage to their lungs or other organs from a disease that is largely preventable with just one injection. I watched the anger and distress on the faces of sons and daughters who wondered why their parents wouldn’t just get the shot.

My experience is not unique. Talk to any healthcare professional and they’ll tell you the same. We are all sick of it. But as much as the disease, we are fed up with the constant barrage of misinformation our patients are exposed to, which is just as deadly as this disease. We’re tired of people living in a reality that just doesn’t exist until they get sick of how forced they are to live in the world the rest of us inhabit – a world where vaccines are available and are extremely effective, and where masks and rapid tests can prevent outbreaks.

We are still grappling with a dangerous and highly contagious disease. The latest figures show more than 600 people are hospitalized with COVID in LA County and more than 27,000 deaths to date. As of December 5, less than 20% of children aged 5 to 11 in LA County had been vaccinated, leaving them vulnerable to the disease. I might add that some of those who have had COVID have developed long COVID symptoms that we still don’t fully understand.

Recent articles online and in local blogs attempt to cast doubt on the effectiveness of PCR testing. PCR tests remain the gold standard for COVID tests, and – contrary to what you’ve read on your little cousin’s aunt’s Facebook feed – these tests have no trouble distinguishing between the virus. influenza and COVID. In a recent Kaiser Health News article, Kelly Wroblewski, director of infectious disease programs at the Association of Public Health Laboratories, said: “It is not at all correct that the CDC test does not do the test. difference between influenza and SARS-CoV-2. He doesn’t detect the flu. It only detects SARS-CoV-2. If both flu and covid are circulating, you will only be able to detect SARS-CoV-2 and not the flu. “

I would add that contrary to some of the conspiratorial claims you may have heard, PCR tests do not harvest DNA. This claim has no more basis in reality than the idea that the moon landing was rigged or that Elvis is alive and working as a fry cook in the back of a Waffle House in Chattanooga. The PCR test has not been “discontinued” by the FDA. In July of this year, a lab alert issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Systems said the CDC would withdraw its request for authorization. Use of Emergency Use (EUA) for its COVID-19 PCR Diagnostic Test after December 2021. The EUA was not ‘revoked’ – it was voluntarily withdrawn as it was no longer needed as more testing full were available since the initial issuance of the EUA.

The SMMUSD board of directors made the right decision to extend the contract for PCR testing throughout the district. We’re in a much better situation than we were last winter, thanks in large part to the vaccinations. But with the rise of the Omicron variant and the lack of clarity in these early stages on vaccine penetration and death rate, it is entirely reasonable to continue testing and masking for at least the next few months in the future. public institutions where we must keep access open to all children. The safety of our children and faculty in their schools must be protected to the best of our ability if we are ever to emerge from this cycle of COVID infections.

Sion Roy is the director of inpatient cardiac CT scans at Harbor UCLA. he is also a past president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, a trustee of Santa Monica College, and a trustee of the California Medical Association


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