“Transmission will continue to accelerate … and the ones who will also pay the price, in addition to the unvaccinated adolescents, are the little kids who depend on the adults and adolescents to get vaccinated in order to slow or halt transmission,” he said.
In 46 states, the rates of new cases this past week are at least 10% higher than the rates of new cases the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
In Los Angeles County, the country’s most populous, there has been a 500% increase in cases over the past month, according to the county’s latest health data.
“What you’re doing is your condemning a whole generation of adolescents to neurologic injury totally unnecessarily,” Hotez said. “It’s just absolutely heartbreaking and beyond frustrating for vaccine scientists like myself to see this happen.”
Debate over vaccine mandates
With experts stressing the importance in vaccinating a majority of Americans against the virus, some officials are debating whether to mandate vaccinations at the local level. Some schools and employers have already implemented measures requiring students and employees to be vaccinated before returning.
But many states are moving to block such requirements.
At least seven states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma and Utah — have enacted legislation this year that would restrict public schools from requiring either coronavirus vaccinations or documentation of vaccination status, a CNN analysis found.
“If we start with a lens on the children and wanting children to get back to school, which is what we all say is the priority, then we have to get more serious about employers and schools and universities stepping up and saying, ‘It’s great if you don’t want to be vaccinated. But if you don’t, you really can’t have access to places that will put you in contact with folks who can’t get vaccinated,'” Sebelius said.