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Photo by Shelli Parker

Dr. Douglas Curran

When schools resumed in-person learning the big question was will these be cesspools of COVID-19 for both teachers and students. Teachers stood on both sides of the issue with some anxious to return and others scared to.

Since the fall semester has been completed, Dr. Douglas Curran, former president of the Texas Medical Association and Doctor at UT Health Athens, answered some questions regarding pediatric cases of COVID-19.

Have you noticed an increase in pediatric cases since school began?

We have had an increase in COVID-19 cases with school. However, the numbers have not been as high as I thought they might be.

Our overall rate of COVID-19 is up in our area and all over rural Texas.

How does the virus effect children vs. adults? Any difference?

Adults seem to get sicker than children. Certainly compromised older adults, grandparents, are at greatest risk for serious illness.

Have you seen an increase in school aged children’s parents getting COVID-19?

Parents and other family members are at high risk to get infected if the children are infected.

Are any Athens doctors or hospitals using the vaccine or infusion treatments?

UT Tyler is giving the vaccine to frontline high risk healthcare workers. I personally had my first dose Thursday evening at 8 p.m. Many local physicians and health care workers are being vaccinated. Nursing home and chronic care facilities are next. I feel school teachers will be vaccinated early as well. The early vaccination of psychiatric healthcare workers is essential as this group is at very high risk.

Please add anything you think would be interesting to school age parents.

There is an uptick in the area and now is not the time to go visit grandparents. There is light at the end of the tunnel and although this may be a difficult Christmas, using caution will lead to a better Christmas next year.

Mass vaccination of the public should begin in late February and early March. Watch for the availability of the vaccine in this area.

I encourage everyone to get it at the first opportunity they have. You will need a follow-up in 30 days. I got mine Thursday and will go back for the second shot Jan. 7. The physicians and UT Health will work together to get everyone vaccinated that wants the vaccine. The vaccination is the quickest way to protect our people and get us back to normal life activities.

State hospitals including Terrell State were among the first healthcare workers to receive the vaccine.

Visit https://www.texmed.org/coronavirus/ for more information.

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