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Pediatric doctor calls rising COVID-19 cases with kids “ominous sign”

It's safe for kids to be in class, but only if they wear masks --regardless of vaccination status-- and they maintain social distancing.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A pediatric disease specialist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is calling the increase of kids with COVID-19 an "ominous sign."

Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics documented 94,000 new cases of COVID infections in the last week, making up nearly 15% of all weekly cases. The number of kids hospitalized with the virus more than doubled from 1.5% to 3.5%. In Shelby County, it's even worse. Doctors say we must act now to stop the delta variant.

“It’s hard for us to continue to express to the community how important it is for us to get that help, to get vaccinated, to use that mask and protect everyone because that's what's going to help be able to take care of those who need it the most," said Dr. Diego Hijano, a Pediatric Disease Specialist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Doctor Hijano thinks it's safe for kids to be in class but only if they're masked up regardless of vaccination status and maintain social distancing.