President Joe Biden brought the grandpa vibes in his first town hall meeting since his inauguration in January. During the intimate meeting, hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Biden comforted a second-grade girl who was concerned about COVID-19.
Jessica Salas, a Milwaukee-based graphic designer, stood with her 8-year-old daughter Layla and explained to Biden that her two young children often ask if they will get the coronavirus and die.
“They are watching as others get the vaccine, and they would like to know, when will kids be able to get the vaccine?” Salas asked.
“Don’t be scared, honey. Don’t be scared. You’re going to be fine, and we’re going to make sure mommy’s fine, too,” the President said. He went on to explain that it’s unusual for children to be symptomatic for the virus. “First of all, kids don’t get COVID very often, it’s unusual for that to happen.”
President Biden reassures a second-grader about Covid-19 during the CNN town hall: "Don't be scared, you're going to be fine, and we're going to make sure mommy's fine, too." #BidenTownHall https://t.co/yknFSFAPBP pic.twitter.com/erD8mg9IBl
— CNN (@CNN) February 17, 2021
Quick fact check on that: According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children are less likely to manifest extreme symptoms if they are infected with, but they can still transmit the virus to others. The CDC website states, “While fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. Children, like adults, who have COVID-19 but have no symptoms (‘asymptomatic’) can still spread the virus to others.”
Salas then asked when she could tell her children they could be vaccinated, which is a question on all of our minds.
“We haven’t even done tests yet on children as to whether or not the certain vaccines would work or not work or what is needed.” He added, to Layla, “You’re the safest group of people in the whole world.”
Again, though children are less likely to become extremely ill from COVID, they can be asymptomatic carriers, which poses a significant problem for those responsible for the decision to open or close schools. Addressing school reopening, Biden suggested that some schools may run through the summer to make up for lost time and added that he would like to see K-8 schools reopen five days a week.
When asked how he plans to accomplish wide-scale reopening, Biden pointed to vaccinations. “I think we should be vaccinating teachers. We should move them up in the hierarchy,” he said.
At present, teachers as a group are not eligible for vaccination in 24 states, though they may fall under other eligible categories, like senior citizens or first responders. In another interview on Wednesday morning’s Today, Vice President Kamala Harris reiterated that vaccinating teachers is a priority for the administration, but did not say it should be a requirement before schools reopen.
Before you go, check out our gallery on Cute & Stylish Kids Face Masks.