tv Health Experts Testify on COVID-19 Impact on Children CSPAN October 20, 2021 5:06pm-7:48pm EDT
>> comcast supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. next, health experts testify about the impact of covid-19 on children during a house subcommittee hearing. they took questions about in-personde schooling, masking r children, and health issues related to obesity, isolation and depression.
>> this committee on oversight and investigations hearing will now come to order. today the committee is holding a hearing entitled putting kids first, addressing covid-19's impact on children. today's hearing will explore the impacts of the coronavirus disease of 2019 pandemic on children and adolescents in the united states. due to the covid-19 public health emergency members can participate in today's hearing either in person or remotely via online videoconferencing. members who are not vaccinated and participating in person muso wear a mask and be socially distanced. members mayhepu remove their ma when they're under recognition and speaking from a microphone. staff and personnel not vaccinated and present inn the committee room must wear a mask at all times and bert socially distanced. for members who are participatingg remotely, your microphones will be set on mute for the purpose of eliminating
inadvertent background noise. members participating remotely will need to unmute your microphone each time you wish to speak. please note once you unmute your microphone anything that is said in webex will be heard over the loud speakers in the committee room and subject to be heard by the live stream and c-span as everyone in this committee learned during our marathon work up last week. because members are participating in different communications for today's hearinge all questions will ben the order of subcommittee seniority. if at any time during the hearing i'm unable to chair the hearing, the vice chairil of th subcommittee, mr. peters, will serve as chair until i'm able tv return. record can be he sent to austin flack alt the e-mail address we provided to the staff. all documents will bee entered
into the record at the conclusion of the hearing, and the chairman will now recognize herself for the purposes of an opening statement. today the lysubcommit ea contins to focus on its top priority this year. aggressively exploring how to bring the covid-19 pandemic to an end. today we conducted extensive oversight and numerous hearings on critical issues related to controlling thehe virus from on ground experiences of state leaders to vaccine development, distribution and uptake. curbing covid-19 has been and unfortunately still remains thia subcommittee's top priority until we bring the pandemic to an end. today'se topic is central to t concerns of families across the country. how theh h pandemic affects ou children and how to continue to ensure their health and well-being. asr, millions of students start the new school year, haitians are facing agonizing decisions about in-person learning and
childep care. families across the country are balancing the risks and challenges of keeping their children safe while striving to support their overall developmental and educational growth. experts agree the best place for children is in the classroom. but only if steps are taken to maketh schools a safe place. the goal we all share across this dais is keeping kids safe. while children have been spared ther same rates of severe symptoms or death as adults from the virus we know they're far from unscathed. nearly 500 children have died due to covid-19 in the united states and anothernu 5,000 children continue to suffer from a raredi but serious inflammato condition known as misc. and although research is a ongog we don't know the long-term impacts covid-19 has an children
and adolescents. but iounfortunately we do know just as among adults plaque and hispanic youth face disproportionate impacts of covid-19. we also know vaccines remain the most effective tool to fight the virus. a vaccine is currently available for adolescents 12 and older. but unfortunately, less than 42% of the younger teens are fully vaccinated. for kidss under 12 we are all anxious for the fda to authorize a safe and effective covid-19 vaccine. frankly, thatuse approval cann comec soon enough. there's recent cause to be optimistic because the trial results for 5 to 11-year-old children released by pfizer early this week appeared to indicate that the vaccine is safe and effective for children. pfizer will reportedly submit and request w emergency use authorization for this vaccine in just a week or two with the
request for children under 5 to follow later in this fall. we will be counting the days, but it's important to underscore fda's process to t ensure the safety of the vaccine for our children is essential to building the trust of american families. inrd theot meantime ensuring pe who are eligible get vaccinated is a vital step towards protecting children. yet while 65% of adults 18 and older are fully vaccinated across the country that rate is still too low, and it dips further in some communities. i was in a community in western weekend where only 46% of adults were vaccinated. that's just unacceptable and it leads toun the continuing sprea of the delta variant around the country. sodo while we wait for vaccines for younger children, there's other things we can do to help reduce the risk of covid-19. for example, just as using car
seats as seat belts are easy ways to help protect our children while inma a car, we kw that simple acts like wearing masks andnd maintaining physica distance while outdoors can minimize risk to children. we need to encourage those practices as much as possible. however, contracting the virus isn't the only way our childrens lives have been affected by the pandemic. risks of exposure to covid-19 last year led many parents to foregoti their children's visito the doctor leading to nearly 12 million fewer routinenf immunizations. and at the same time other respiratory infections have surged or waved at atypical times placing uncertainty and capacity challenges on childrens hospitals. also the pandemic has had severe consequences on the u mental health of america's youth. even prior to the pandemic adolescents in the u.s.
an epidemic of poor mental health. all of these things are things we need to work on, and so that's why today we're focusing on young people. i'm very happy we have a young person to share her perspective today. we want to keep our kids healthy and safe.ce united by that common purpose we must work together to ensure we risks our children face and to do everything in our power to protect their health and well-being. we all want an end to covid-19 in our classrooms and in our communities. and i will work with the ranking member to make sure that's exactly what we do. with that i will yield 5 minutes to the ranking member for his opening statement. >> thank you very much. appreciate it, chairman. and i appreciate you holding this hearing. overall children are at lower risk than adults for severe illness, hospitalization and
death duecc to covid-19, but the is still a risk particularly for those who are unvaccinated. after a decline of cases in children earlier this summer, cases in children have increased again andrt are currently makin up 28.9% of reported covid-19 cases. it is still unclear as to the definitive underlying reasons for this change. some have hypothesized these trends might best due to the dee variant's high transmission rate. others have suggested it might be because many adults are now protected by t vaccines and therefore adults areny making ue smaller proportion of infections in hospitalizations. others thinkgo it might be becae many children who largely stayea at home last year are now going outside of their homes more,pe creating increased exposure to the virus compared to what they experienced over the last year and aes half. it is also likely that it is a combination of allin of these factors. but it is important that we
continue to study these trends tors better understand the risk ofof covid-19 in children. i understand that parents are worried about the safety of their children and want to ensure that their kidsoo are sai i have school age children and i share that concern. we owe it to our kids to keep them safe and to do so by following the science. in addition to keeping our children safe from getting infected with covid-19, it is important to look at the impacts of covid-19 in our children holistically. because it's not just the sars-cov-2 virus that can cause harm to our children. many of our children are suffering from highd levels of anxiety, depression, or eating disorders. there have also been concerns over increases in abuse and neglect ofho children during th covid-19 pandemic. and the impacts of many schools
teaching remotely since educators are mandatory reporters and serve as our primary reporters of the abuse ander neglect of children in th united states. these concerns underscore the need for our children to remain in school forrn in-person learning. thankfully children can be back in school be safe. the two are not mutually exclusive. i call on all states and local districts to focus on keeping schools open, prioritize our children not political mantras. centers for disease control and prevention, cdc recommends anyone 12 years of age or older get vaccinated. in addition vaccine manufacturerss continue to conduct clinical trials and collect data for children 11 years of age or younger. in fact, pfizer recently announced itsts covid-19 vaccin is safe and appears to generate a ltrobust immune response and
plans to submit that to the food and drug administration and other health regulators as soon as possible. furthermore, moderna expects to have informationbo about its vaccine in early fall. children experience symptoms consistent with covid-19 symptoms for af variety of reason. thus there needs to be robust strategyne to prevent the sprea of covid-19 in schools, prevent school from unnecessarily quarantining children and their families and toer avoid reverti back to exclusively remote learning. i look chforward to today's discussion and learning morehe about how to best keep our children safe not just from the virus itself but from the secondary harms of the virus.ar i thank our witnesses for being
here today and for those which us here virtually and for being part of this important discussion. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. chair now recognizes the chairmanha of the full committe mr. pollone, for five minutes for an openinge statement. >> thank you, chairwoman. the covid-19 pandemic has been one of our nation's most challenging periods. committee has worked tirelessly to ensure the nation has the resources necessary to combat the pandemic, and i wanted to also thank the chair for her continued subcommittee's laser focus on efforts to end the hepandemic. helping americans navigate safelyly through this public health crisis has been at the heart of these efforts, and today we b continue these by examining thee ways the pandemi has s affected our children. communities and families are now struggling with the delta variant arb a far more infectious version of the virus. experts refer to the current wave ofof infections and i quot as a pandemic of the
unvaccinated. and yet while safe and effective vaccines are available to american adults and adolescents children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for these vaccines. a numbers continue toun climb, pediatric kwunts aroundn the nation but particularly in states withd low vaccination rates are seeing a surge in hospitalizations. is understandably disconcerting to parents who just want to keep their children safe. now, it's on all of us to do everything we can v to keep the kids safe. we all have a part to play in getting aic vaccinated practici safety precautions and looking out for one another. critically it'ss important that government leaders follow the science so that we keep our children safe. and state and local actions that ignore or even contradict the science putit our children at rk and also important to understand children are experiencing this pandemic differently than adults. difficult choices often made for
them by parents, caregivers and teachers. andd more than ever before children and theirf families a being forced to balance numerour complicated risks. the mental healthl of our children in particular are of great concern. those have been exacerbated by increased isolation, missed milestones such asas graduation. so we have to find ways to mental health needs of our kids so they not only survive through the pandemic but thrive once it's over. so this committee, congress and the biden administration take important stepss. in providing schools,s, institutions and families with much needed resources. earlier this year congress passed the americanca rescue pl which providedom funding to the safe operation of schools and expansion of pediatric mental healthcare. and just last week this committee passed the build back better act which includes a permanent extension of the children's health insurance
program or chip and investment in children's mental health programs. i'm also encouraged by reports that at least one vaccine manufacturer may be submitting an application for a covid-19 vaccine for children very soon, and thent fda says it intends t act on that application when it comes in a couple of weeks. and the centers for disease control and- prevention has a guidance including for providers, community and business leaders and recent guidance forhe educators and schoolol administrators. it will continue to take all of us working together to keep our children safe. i thank our witnesses for joining us today to share their expertise and perspectives on what we can do to protect american children and togethers we haveth to navigate the challenges p providing safety f the nation's children and do
everything in our power. i want to thank the chair again for yet another important hearing with your subcommittee. i do think this is really important. thank you,, diana. >> i thank the chairman. chair now recognizes the ranking member of the full committee, mrs. rogers for five minutes for purposes off an opening statement. >> thank you, madam chair. this pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. it's been a challenging time for everyone especially for those who have lost loved ones. let me be clear my heart breaks for any parent who has had to bury their child. one death from covid is too many. but we need to recognize what our response is doing to kids. cnn and msnbc will have you believe thatis the greatest thrt to america's children is covid-19. they're wrong. and the fear mongering the making itt impossible for parens
to assess risk and make the best decisions for their kids. the truth, if infected with covid-19 children ages 0 to 9 have about a 0.1% chance of being hospitalized. ages 11 to 19 is about 0.2%. recent data from the public health of england found that covid-19 poses a lowerer risk o hospitalizations to unvaccinated children than it does to fully vaccinated 40 to 49-year-olds. according to the american academy of pediatricians 0.00% to 0.3% of all reported child covid cases have resulted in deaths. i know w the delta variant is scary, more infectious. but from what we've seen so far
it is not more severe. president biden and people like our leaders want us to continue to live in fear. because ofo that fear too many continue to push policies focused only on covid-19 and cruel restrictions, restrictions they don't even want to follow themselves. this is all eroding trust.h eroding trust in public health. where the the consideration of other r aspects of health and children's well-being and mental health? our children are in crisis. emergency room visits for mental health for children ages 5 to 11 increased to 31% since the start of this pandemic. visits or suicidal ideation or attempts at self-harm by children rose by 2.5 times. what about their education and future? study found each month of
school features cost students more than 12 to 15,000 in future earnings. in maryland 41% of all baltimore high schoolop students earned below a 1.0 gpa. self-ace liegz has taken a toll. shutdowns and isolation contributed to teens gaining weight at an alarming rate. this wase a covid-19 policy tha actually made children more ng unhealthy and more at risk to covid-19.y, how is that following the science? our kids are in crisis and unfortunately this administration is more focused onon political allies than science. what happened to leading with science? president biden's administration is guilty of what democrats claimed of. the trump administration, prioritizing politics over science. in may cdc was exposed for working with some of biden's
biggest campaign donors, powerfulbe teachers unions to draft what was supposed to be theo scientific guidance for schools. thanks toheou the teachers unio influence the guidance put out by cdc likely led to more school closures.ug 6 feet social distancing was a major roadblock to keeping schools open. while dr. walensky recommended three feet to her hometown when she became director she kept it at 6 feet. ask yourself why. recently weon saw biden's cdc ignore cdc and again cave to the teachers union. on may 13th the cdc announced that fully vaccinated americans could stop wear masks indoors. itit upset the teachers union. after receiving private threats about public statements criticizing the administration the cdc promptly issued an
update. nowsac all people in schools sh wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. it's even more kerping our cdc recommends masking kids 2 and ds older but our international partners don't. the world health organization and unicef specifically recommend against masking kids under age 5. for kidsle ages 6 to 11 they actually consider other factors when making decisions about masks, the impact on learning and socialst kwemt. so why don't we -- we should today that we should, we must put our kids first. i yield back. en chair now asks unanimous consent. all members written opening statements be entered into the record.
without objection they'll be entered in. the president of the american academy of pediatrics, dr. margaret. rush, president monro carl, jr., children's hospital at vanderbilt, welcome. kelly daniels who will be appearing virtually who is the founder ofs vax-teen. and if you haven't read kelly's résumé it's incredibly impressive the work kelly has done. and dr. tracy who's an epidemiologist and public health expert and e private practice physician. with thaton welcome, everybody. we're excited to hear what you say from a scientific and personal perspective. and i am sure you all know that
this committee takes its testimony under oath because we're having an investigative hearing. does anybody have any objection to testifying under oath? let the record reflect that the witnesses responded no. thee chair then advises everyon that under the a rules of the house and theun rules of the committee you are entitled to be accompanied by council. does anyone here wish to be accompanied by counsel? the let the record reflect the witnesses nodded no. so if you would please rise and raise your right hand so you may be sworn in. do you swear the testimony you're about to give today is the truth, the whole troth truth and nothing but the truth?ct you may be seated. and let the record reflect all the witnesses responded affirmatively. and you're nowow under oath and subject to the penalties set forth in title 19, section 1001
of the united states code. at this point the chair will recognize each witness for five minutes tong present their openg statement. before i begin i want to explain the lighting system for the people testifying in person. in front of you is a series of lights. the lights will initially be green. the light turns yellow when you have oneim minute remaining, so please begin to wrap up your testimony. the light turns red when your time expires and i will let you finish your sentence. don't worry. for witnessesg testifying remotely, you will see a timer on your screen that will count down the remaining time. and now, doctor, i'm very pleased to recognize you for five minutes. >> thank you so much ranking memberyo griffith, chairwoman pollone and ranking member rogers and members of the committee. thank you so much for the time to speak withediaes you today. i'm leap years pediatrician and
apap represents over 60,000pede tritions across the country. lower riskk does not mean no rik and many children have become very sick from covid-19. according to information compiled by aap and the children's hospital association to date more than 5.5 million children have been affected by the virusto since the start of e pandemic. overof 21 children have been hospitalized and 481 children have died as a result of covid-19. even more tragically in many cases these hospitalizations and deaths could have been prevented through safe and simple measures. more than two thirds of these deaths have been in black and latinx children which shows the disproportionate effects of the virus on childrened of color. while studies have shown the
delta variant may not cause severe cases of covid-19 it is more transmissible. and fortunately we know what to do toch reverse this concerning trend.lo vaccines are the key to dramatically decreasing the spread of the virus and returning children to all the things they love to do and help themay thrive. thankfully a safead and effecti covid. vaccine has been availabe for adolescents since may. only 54% of 12 to 17-year-olds have yet been vaccinated compared to over 76% of adults. while we have more work to do to increase vaccination among older children we're t hopeful a vacce for children ages 5 to 11 will befe authorized soon.
we also cannot forget we have work to do. children have missedmary millioc doses since the start of the pandemic because many have missed their checkups. many parents havets fairly typil concernsua about the potential side effects of vaccines, and these concerns can usually be addressed through education from trusted community members like pediatricians. but the level of misinformation andd disinformation about covid vaccines that's been circulating online has beeno astounding. and this is proving much more difficult to address.ok sadly more pediatricians have also been personally targeted with h attacks as a result of ts information. pediatricians i've personally to and their staff have been harassed, booed, personally spat upon and threatened. needing to prevent ones self distracts and diverts our t resources fromr our ability to
care for our children and families. i urge us all to come together in a a coordinated national efft to support those on the front lines working to end this pandemic.. at this point thee covid-19 pandemic has disrupted three separate school years for children across this country with wide ranging impacts notbe only on children's educational aitatement but also their social andn physical health.ve because of the value schools and in personn learning play the a.. has strongly advocated we do everything we can. at this time pediatricians recommend universal masking in school for all school staff unless medical and developmental issues prevent use.. i want to end today by
addressing the mental health challenges of children and families.ce emotional and behavioral health needs in children and adolescents were a growing concern well before the covid-19 pandemic. but the nepandemicsi has acutel exacerbated these challenges to near crisis levels. now more than ever families and children from infancy through adolescents need our help through health screening and diagnostics to appropriately address their needs. but there are many barriers to thesee services in the communit. my written testimony identifies a number of opportunities for congress to address these barriers, and i'm happy to answerfo questions. we look forward to working with the committee on this critical issue. thank you so much for inviting me to testify today and i look forward to your questions today. >> dr. rush now i'm pleased to recognize you for five minutes on opening statement. you need to push your button there. >> chairwoman, the ranking memb and distinguished members of the
subcommittee thank you for the opportunity too testify today. my name is dr. meg rush and i serve ass president of monroe children's hospital on the vanderbilt university campus in nashville, tbs. i'm truly honored to be here to share the perspective of children's hospitals as we've navigated the ispandemic and spk about the pandemic's impact on child health and well-being. although covid-19 is less likelo to lead to death in many children, s many children are contracting the i delta variant andd becoming very sick. tennessee is one of the southern states where there's some degree of r vaccine unreadiness. our lower rates of vaccination are n clearly coordinated with e fact tennessee isil rated numbe one for higher positive cases in both adults and children as recently as monday of this week, which in turn has resulted in high numbers of hospitalizations. i want to begin by telling you about sophia. as she p and her parents prepar for the start of kindergarten,
neither parent wasas vaccinated. within a few days of starting school, sofia contracted covid-19. both parentss contracted covid9 and unfortunately neither survived. she willou carry this pain forever. children's hospitals account for nearly 2% of hospitals across the united states. yet we're thech safety net for % of the national h nation's population. children's hospitals have experienced the opposite ends of the spectrum over the past 18 months. in 2020 children's hospitals braced for uncertainty how covid-19 would impact children. it turns out the biological differences combined with public health measures in n place not only resulted with comparative new casesal of infection in children but also near disappearance of many respiratoryre illness in
childhood. this revenue shortfall caused staffing down sizing in some children's hospital. others such as mine stepped up to help, adjacent adult hospits either by sharing staff, offering beds or both. enteringch 2021 modeling suggesd that children's hospitals could experience ongoing revenue shortfalls if children continue to. be so healthy. six months ago we saw an unusual spike. f volumes increase dramatically and then the covid-19 pandemic began. although children were less sick last year their health and well-being was negatively impacted. children and faems c across the country face disruptions to their daily lives due to
covid-19. the vanderbilt health poll conducted in 2020 takes factors that negatively impact the health ofan children particular those facing socioeconomic disadvantages. changes in insurance, economic instability, increased food insecurity, decreased physical activity, learning and social organization are significant factors that impact child health. fear of the ldpandemic also caud some families to delay health care for their children even if they were ntsick. and i would be remiss if i did not mention they parallel heal epidemic that was well under wah before the onset of the pandemic but clearly worse now. multi-factoral in nature, as acute care hospitals ourauerize to hold these patients in emergency departments or admit them to acute care beds until
there'sanch appropriate safety care plan. yesterday i hadca 34 children admitted forut behavioral healt crisis in my hospital.fo 24 of these were medically clearedco but neated an critica care plan. as my testimony outlines there remain opportunities particularly in o o the space o health and well-being of children including legislation put vaforward by members of the energy and commerce committee. thank you in advance for your consideration of supporting the youth in our nation. sophia and all like her are truly our future. >> thank you so much, dr. rush. dr. evans, i'm now pleased to recognize you for five minutes for an opening statement. >> chairmanth pollone, ranking
member griffith, ranking member rogers and members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to testify today. i'm dr. arthur c. evans, ceo of the americann psychological association. the apa is the largest scientificr and professional organization representing psychology in the u.s. with over 122,000 clinicians, researchers, consultants and students as its members and affiliates. apa appreciates the subcommittee's focus on the mental health of the nation's youth. children and adolescents have been especially affected by the covid-19 pandemic experiencing higher rates ofal stress, anxie and fear. sociales isolation, financial uncertainty and disrupted routines placed considerable stress on children and their families, and we remain especially concerned about increases in the rates of suicide attempts and other forms of self-harm among children and youth, particularly among those
within communities of color. the reason for these phenomena are manifold and many of these concernsth were already present prior to the pandemic. psychological research tells us that the mental health of children frequently tied to the health of theircc surroundings such as their communities, schools andth homes. if the traumatic events are occurring in these seings they almost always have a downstream impact on children's well-being. psychological science also shows that they consequences of untreated mental health needs on the overall trajectory of children'sh lives. tis can include a greater likelihood of difficulties with learning, addiction to substances, learning, lower employmentce prospects and employment with the criminal justicemm system. this concern is amplified for individuals from underserved communities and communities ofo color who have long strug wld the social determinance that
lead to behavioral health conditions and inadequate access to behavioral health services. there's no one size fits all solution to meeting all the mental health needs among children, but the science is clear in several areas. one key area is early detection andmp intervention. as children return to school, comprehensive school based mental healthal services such a those provided by school psychologists are critical to overcoming learning loss and addressing behavioral health issues effectively. we must also invest in opportunities to foster positive school climates. thisio includes integrating evidence based and socially competent programs and creating informed s approaches to teachi and student well-being. outside of schools we must ensure that children and families have access to high quality mental health services including telehealth. we need to invest in more
behavioral health research to support early intervention. we also needd to equip educator, families a and communities to recognize early signs of mental and emotional distress in children. while apa appreciates congress' significant investment in mental health during the covid-19 pandemic, part of the problem is that such funding is temporary which often inhibits the ability of states and school systems to makeh long-term investments in their mental health work force ander infrastructure. new investments must be made with the understanding that a long-term commitment is needed. we must avoid perpetuating a false choice. we need both. ideally all children should be innd a physical classroom with theiran teachers and peers.
we can and should be doing everything possible to reopen schools safely adhering to proven public health measures, providing virtual options if they becomen necessary. federal, state and local government should bein working concert to ensure that all children continue to have access tohi equitable education and support services while staying mentally and physically healthy. i applaud the subcommittee for convening prtoday's hearing. the challenges we currently face provide us with an extraordinary opportunity to reimagine how we address thehe behavioral healthf all of our citizens including ouryuest. thank you and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you so much, dr. evans. now i'm pleased to recognize ms.
daniel por. >> thank you for the opportunity to share my perspective on the covid-19 impact on young people and for recognizing the important of this topic. i'm the founder of vax-teen as well as a first year graduate student at stanford university. his parents refused to allow him to be vaccinated. he tried to reason with them but to no avail, and he was concerned. yes, he feared the danger that vaccine preventable diseases posed to his own health, but primarilyim he was worried abou the danger he posed to those around him by being unvaccinated. i was struckem by his dilemma a by his profound consideration to others. this sent me down to the rabbit hole of research where i
discovered many peers had many queries but there was a lack of clear answers. we worked to educate -- helping them determine what a vaccines they need and how they can receive them depending on the applicable laws in the state which they lived. vaccines are also a platform to lobby for change. we work both in our own communities and nationally to encourage legislatures to enact policies expanding access to vaccinations. clearly much haswo changed sinci discovered thatga initial reddi post. about one19 b year later the wo health organization declared
covid-19 to be a pandemic and the fears of one person on reddit became the fears of my entire generation. when will we be able to get vaccinated? what role can we play in making that happen? what risks are we posing to those around us and we cared about? are we safe? the time i spent running vax-teen has been filled with questions and searching for answers.is the reasoning why or why not, do or don't and how they can protect themselves and their communities and those they care about. there are certainly obstacles we're facing in convincing some young people. they're a way of protecting our
families and communities. a few years ago the senate committee on h labor and health held a hearing entitled vaccines saving lives. notably among those testifying 18-year-old whose mother's opposition to vaccinations lead him to post on reddit and without the aid of his paurnts and become a vocal vaccine advocate. he pointed out the irony that vaccines and preventing vaccines led them to dismiss the impact. the pandemic served as a startling public health lesson. even those who have experienced the loss of a family member or s friend due to covid suffered from prolonged social isolation and witnessed the economic devastation brought onat by the disease. at this point, it's clear that we each have a responsibility to stop the transmission of disease
through vaccination, social distancing, public health measures toti ensure our collective health. i've witnessed many members of my generation take this to heart. volunteering for clinical trials. as we work to get an end to the pandemic, i hope we continue to focus on the need for the classroom so that in person learning can eerim continue. helping them catch up on routinl immunizations that were missed during then pandemic and expanding access to vaccinations. thank you. thank you so much. thank you for taking time out of your academic day to be with us. dr. hoag, i'm very pleased to recognize you for five minutes for an opening statement. >> thank you. i'm so happy to be here.pp my name is tracy hoag.
i'm an american trained physician andto have the opportunity to go to denmark to do an epidemiology related phd and post doctoral work. and i'm a mom of 10 and 13-year-oldk boys. and now living back in the united states and have had aqu t of aer unique perspective on th schoold reopening situation an covid-19 and kids because of my continuedpe ties to denmark and europe and watching what my own children have been experiencing here in the united states. and i was struck by the way europe and particularly scandinavia have been very good at prioritizing keeping churn in school and reducing collateral damage, prolonged school closures. this the hehe have by default kt the schools open as much as possible and even denmark has dropped all mitigation at this point related to children. and i became involved in multiple research studies including published mmwr and
particular that study in the systematic review foundlu that churn are approximately 20 times more likely to be infected outside of school than o insidef school. we need to keep that in mind. when we look at our mitigation strategies, you know, how much of an impact are they having at protecting ourin kids from the effectsff of covid-19? and what are the disadvantages to thosedi continued mitigation strategiesqu including quaranti and limited access to school anf sports of different kinds? so when we look at the situation in termsco of risks and benefit we need to consider both the risks to children from covid-19 as well as risks from the secondary effects from theat mitigation. we learned more and more that children have a lower risk than we initially thought with looking into the stat data how the risk of 1 of 500 to 1 in
1,000 chance of being hospitalized if infected. and that's about a 30 times decrease risk as an 80 or older person. in terms of death, five to six per million in children and for 80 -- comparing to 80-year-olds and a older, that is a 10,000 fd decrease risk. and then we need to also, as others acknowledged, note this is actually not changed with delta., though it is more contagious mosts likely. and we also need to remember that unvaccinated children has the same risk of hospitalization asto 40 to 50-year-old who's ar fully vaccinated. recent data on long covid-19 from the uk has actually when you look at controls compared to infection --- infected children has not found a difference.
n. the rates of symptoms. in terms of long covid-19 symptoms and that's currently the most likely the best study that we have. solo while long covid-19 does exist in some children, it's not as big of a problem -- or noes asas large of a magnitude of a problem as we had originally feared. so that's reassuring. not to discount the children who have suffered from it. we need to consider the other riskss posed to children. children ages 5-14 have a suicide risk that is greater than seven -- that dying of suicide is greater thanim seven time the risk of dying from covid. andd we've seen consistent increases in mental health visits and we've also seen, of course, increases in obesity, doubling the rate of obesity and twice the rate of diabetes.
we know schools can open safely before we had adult vaccination and we have access to rapid testing that we should be using at all schools to keep kids as much as possible in school and sports and their normal activities. so at this airpoint, i would s the burden of proof needs to be on our mitigation strategies to make sure that they're working and that they're not causing excess damage ton. the health o our children. thisis would include quarantine andd limited access to schools and sports. we are to make sure they're having the intended effect and look to our own studies and our nations in europe for guidance. thank you very much. now it's time for members to be able to ask questions to the
panel. the chair will recognize herself for five minutes. and iqu will agree that the ris with all of our experts, the risk to children from covid from serious long term illness and death is lower than it is for on most of the population. but all the parents of young children that i know including several of my staff, that does not give them a lot of comfort iney their daily lives. they w want to make sure -- and the other thing i'll say is most schools in this country are now open. and so the issue for us to all determine is what is the best way to keep our kids and their familieses and their communitie safe? and, of course that, answer is to make sure that every child who is eligible for a covid-19 vaccine can get one. as we learned though, i know that all of our esteemed experts
here and on webex will say children are not just simply little adults. and onene of the reasons we hado have the studies in and clinical trialsls were the vaccines is t makeke sure the vaccine dosage correct and make sure the vaccines are safe and effective. fiz as you heard itt will be submitting a request for emergency useve authorization f children ages 5-11 in early october. and then a as has been noted, t fda may take several weeks to assess the data. data will follow. we saw interesting news from johnson & johnson yesterday. so dr. pierce, want to ask you, fdant recently said they will wk as expeditiously as possible to what was following the science when it comes to authorizing covidd vaccine for children. what safety factors will fda be reviewing in this data that is
different for children than compared to adults? >> yes. absolutely. thank you for that. and i do agree that a vaccine, an effective vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds w will be a wonderl thing to have. part of what the fda is going to look at is, of course, the safety data to make sure that there were no additional safety events oroo unexpected safety events, one of the things to look at is the effectiveness of the vaccine at the dosage that it was given. im think what we heard from pfizer isli that it's likely toe about a third of the dose of the adulty dose. so they'll be looking at a number of those things. >> now when pfizer submitts the application and when the fda does their review, what should thes parents know about the rir of this process and why do you thinkk they should have confidet in the fda and cdc's recommendations? >> well, thank you. i think in short it's an incredibly rigorous process.
it's anbl incredibly cautious process. we do this alleee the time when think aboutim vaccine developme in children. we always start with adults and then we slowly work our way backwards to make sure that anything we're recommending for children is safege and effectiv. >> thank you. dr. evans, i want to ask you, obviously protecting our churn from covid-19 can't be parents only focus as we learn about these exacerbated meantally health struggles. parents and students be doing to support you? >> i think a number of things. the first thing that parents need to recognize is one of the biggest predetectiveors of how children do is thou he had do. around a host then issues ther is a lot of anxiety, a lot of issues with people talking about
these issues. and so t the first thing they he to recognize is that they have to take care of themselves. i think the other is that children are affectedd by the pandemic and not only the pandemic, all the things around the pandemic, financial uncertainty and otheric issues. they have to be on the lookout from of those kinds of signs and symptoms that their children are experiencingnc difficulty. >> thank you. i'm going to ask you, while peers and younger teens are rightly focused on the school dayar right now, if they could hear just one message from you, what is the importance of getting the vaccine. what would it be? >> i would say getting vaccinated is really the best in tool to get life back to normal.
everyone is protecting everyone. this time is really important. young people care about their communities and protecting the people around them. the vaccine is a great tool for doing so. >> thank you. thank you so much to all of you. the chair will now recognize the ranking member. >> thank you, madam chair. dr. hoag, thent public school system in montgomery county, maryland, requires all students that may have been exposed to a student who tests positive for covid-19 to quarantine for ten days.ut according to parents, a student who shows symptoms similar to those of covid-19 at their school or in a classroom isn't being tested before the school districtho decides to send everyone who may have been exposed to that student home to quarantine. entire grades ofun children bei out of schools. the countd qui reversed that
policy once they rolled out a new rapid covid-19 testing program. should a testing strategy or program including rapid tests be in place at schools to prevent unnecessary quarantine? >>y children have been quarantining resulting in educational losses and exacerbating the problems that we've beensa discussing. there was a well done study out of the uk that looked at the test to stay program where they tested children who are exposed five out of sevenen days of the week. if theyth tested negative, you know, each morning they were allowed to stay in school. and they didn't find any significant difference in terms the spread. if they were quarantined or did that rapid testing protocol. a number of districts adopted
that. i youd ly highly recommend doin that in schoolo districts. i highly recommend that program to avoid further learning losses and exacerbating the secondary effects of the pandemic on children. >> thank you. you touched on the next question as well. high contacts for them to remain in class for daily testing than those that required at home quarantines have you looked at that study? >> that is absolutely the same study i was looking at. i was discussing. yes. >> that's what i thought. sounded like it. there went my second question. i appreciate that. you tiknow, what are the impact of social isolation on our children from schoolnd closures.
>> beyond suicide, it's screen time, increasing amounts of abuse at home. it's poorse diet. you know, kids -- the kids when they're the ahome, you know, their parents s are usually working inside of the house and so it's been a concerning effect that kids are left to their own devices and not in pe or getting the same amountn of physical activity, not going out to recess. and absolutely humans are -- >> yes, ma'am. > let me focus in on one of those. >> do we haveny any good data o the rauts of abuse and neglect n that we've seen during the pandemic? is it up? do we have any hard data? >> yeah. the most recent study i saw looked at -- it looked at unfants and found that the rates of going to the emergency room with abuse was increased. the ied haven't seen a study ye in them. in older churn that i don't know
ifif anyone else could speak to that. but that's clearly a concern. >> i see the doctor nodding. is the nice thing about being in the room together. >> do you have some specific abuse and neglect of churn in school age as a result of the pan dem snik. >> yeah. i would agree, dr. hoag. we're seeing some early data and certainly anecdotally, we're hearing. but it is a concern. we agree. >> yeah. >> what -- i go back to dr. hogue. i'm a curious. whatbu about remediation for students in the schools? what we're seeing at least in virginia i think it is true across the nation is that things didn't get taught that were supposed to be taught. >> but still doing a lot of virtual work well. what are wee looking at? we got a tutor for our kids to try to h help get them caught bk
up on what they were supposed to have learned during that full yearll of covid-19. or virtual learning. >> this point out the fak because we have no national strategy for accelerated, you know, learning this year that it's the kids that are socioeconomically acdisadvantag and don't have access to a tutor and with more school closures thatno are going to fall furthe behind. so it's concerning that we don't have a consolidated national strategy for catching kids up. because as we've seen from the data,s again, it's the socioeconomically disadvantaged that have fallen the fartherest hund. >> so we need remediation. i appreciate it. >> the chairre rouses the full committee chairman for five minutes for questioning.
>> the delta continues to surge in communities across the country. in your testimony, you note that number of hospitalized churn due to covid-19 is tripled at 19 children's hospitals. so let me ask you a question. why are hospitals hike you're seeing such a dramatic rise in the numbere of pediatric patiens with covid-19? >> i think the mike is not on. >> thank you so much. i think it isch multifactorial. manufacture the measures in place in 2020 that separated children and that kept children more isolated as we all talked about this morning also prevented the transmission of disease. so children b are now back together. they're in school settings. many of whom at least in my community have not had as rigorous restrictions around how to start, restart school.
i think the delta variant is much t more contagious. with the alpha varnt, one person could infect two to three other people.se the delta varnt variant, one person can infect seven. if you think of the transmission of the disease, it's much broader. children are unvaccinated largelyy n my area and any region, even the teenage population is significantly below the national norms with vaccine availability. >> thank you let me ask you. this f last week we advanced the build back betterth act. that included a chip program, n more than a billion for activities to strengthen vaccine confidence and 40 to support children'sid mental and behaviol health needs. i want toish you, thinking about the current stat' of children's and adolescence health needs,
howin do the provisions or provisions like that support their well-being? >> thank you very much for that. and the ap is very much in support of those provisions. iov think it's just in credibly important for us to be investing in the things our children need as we look forward. permanent chip extension would music to pediatricians ears. we havee to make sure we're putting resources where the children are and where they're living, schooling, and playing. so it would be incredibly valuable. thank you. >>to thank you. but i also want to mention that the build back better act included 250 million for children's hospital gme graduate medical education. soso let me go back to you. the do you in the children's hospital association support that level of increase for
children's hospital gme? do you believe it would help address work shortages in tee at republic and subspecialty care areas?s? >> 100%. most children's hospitals are affiliated with a academic medil centers. and actually are the core of pediatric graduate medical ld education as well as research. and so this funding would ensure that all of those training programs, notal only for the general pediatrician and the community but also for all the teege at republic subspecialist who's largelyin work in childres hospitals going forward. >> thank you. let me just -- one final question for ms. daniel. i know you don't speak on behalf of all young poem.ie i think we can benefit from your insight. what single action do youur, yo this young people want to see from it y adults that would hel instill confidence that we still care about them? people always say, well, congress doesn't really care about young people as much as seniorss because they don't vot.
is there something that we can do to -- or that you believe adults could do to help instill the confidence that we do care? i know it seems strange. >> excellent question to ask. and obviously don't speak for the entire generation, making young people a part of this conversation by asking questions and what is needed and why they should be vaccinated as well as peer to peer messaging and that could be impactful. and in families, i think adolescence is learning how to navigate family and culture and socioeconomic issues that they have and what is important to them. and so i think young people are uniquely poised to speak to those around them and to educate them. so i think the greatest thing that our representatives can do is really involve young people in this conversation.isis make them feel heard.
>> p thank you, thank you, mada chair. >>he thank the gentleman. i recognize mrs. rogers for five minutes for questioning. >> thank you, madam chair. i want to thank kelly for joining us and for her advocacy. you know, it really is just think about as i the impact on our children. another friend had her 14-year-old daughter in the emergency room multiple times over the last year for cutting herself. and she's told her mom that all she thinks about is killing herself. i have another friend who just last week shared with me a list her son had- texted her. she forwarded this text to me. from her son. he had listed, i you don't know, 10 or 11, ways looking for it, of his o friends who have
committed suicide, by name and their age. it's just breath taking. without a a doubt this pandemic has taken a toll, a deep toll on allar of us and on our childrenn particular. as parent and for many parents, they're understandably scared for their churn's health and well-being. the n 24-hour news environment right now, can you not escape thee fear and the hysteria. the risk of covid-19 must be taken seriously. i believe we must have an honest conversation about all of the risks that are facing our kids right now. the crisis that our kids are in the middle of. what is the risk of covid-19? what risk, covid-19 poses to
children, and how does that risk comparelt across age groups and adults? >> yeah. thanksg for bringing up those very important points about mental health. the risk is at 20 to 30 times lower than adults and we're talking 1,000 fold difference in terms of risk of mortality.ks and then -- so the risks -- as i discussed earlier, you know, they are about our one in 500 to 1,000 for hospitalization and when we've seen five to six deaths per million among children, and then could you repeat the second part of your question? >> i'm actually going to move
on. we focus on covid-19 and ignoring other health factors. will some agency as cross the country are enforcing. so dr. hogue, would you just we're to you know, implementing the policies for covid-19, whyr is it important for usto to also consider the other health factors and that impact on our children? mental health, social, and motional develop snent. >> yeah, absolutely. looking at -- we need to look at ac wholistic view of children's health and not just look at one disease. because as i was discussing, you know, suicide poses a seven times increase risk of death than covid-19 does.
it's u ronnic that kids are feelingg abandoned and seeing increased problems of mental health and suicide. i t think this is something tha where the united states has differed from scanned unlawfula and europe. they've been acknowledging that other threats to children's health and more important and greater magnitude than covid-19. we need to make sure while we're protecting kids that we're not increasing the risk of the mental health problems of and obesity and diabetes. they're not things that are necessarily going to, you know, kill children or immediately. there but there is a lifetime health problems that we need to bebe concerned about. >> the cdc recommends children 2 and up wear mask indoors. that's not what our
international partners advise. the european cdc recommends masking adults but not kids. the w.h.o. recommend against masking kids under the age of 5. dr. hogue, why do you think the u.s. is recommending masking kids: as young as 2 years old? >> i mean that,s ai good question. i think that's because theres e a lot of belief that masking youngte children is having larg impact on transmission of the disease. and we're acknowledging that we actually don't havet sol you ha data showing thatha masking an impact.s had masking children in schools particularly has had any impact on sprenting the threat of the disease. >> thank you.yo my time expired. i muteli just mention when this
masksk recommendation.w i asked her for the science. she said i'll get it to you. i yield back. >> i yield the agenda will lady. miss custer for five minutes. >> thank you very much. you want to thank the ranking member of this subcommittee and represent griffith for emphasizing vaccines, children would not need to wear masks. adults w would vaccinate. i wish the ranking member would focus on that. nobody is suggesting that we aro not focused on the meantal health of children and o adolescence. children were already facingtr growing mental health crisis before 9,covid-19. and today they are struggling with adverse childhood events including trauma, racism, bullying, substance disorder and
undiagnosed mentalis health issues. so it is true pan that pandemic added to this stress and i would likeid to join my colleagues on the other side of the euwell to put this pandemic behind us by focusing onra increasing our vaccination w rates. my schools in new hampshire, one school announced to day an outbreak. i think your effort to deminute ish the risk brings home -- i'm parent. i also have a 12 great nieces and great nephews. the i want to do everything i cann to keep them safe. so we have found that between april and october of 2020, there is a 24% increase in the proportional of mental health emergency department visits for childrenen age 5 to 11 comparedo
the same period in 2019. let's put this pandemic behind us. right here in new nttahampshire i've seen the dire need in our t rural communities for adolescent and mental health. i had the opportunity to visit t mountain valley treatment center in it plainfield, new hampshire. they cope can anxiety disorders and get additional treatment. and covid-19 has just in creased the challenges for the young people that i met. nerves are frayed for parents andbi children alike. and so let's work together in a bipartisan way to keep everyone mentally healthy as we stay sauf for from covid. >> you have a unique perspective on this panel. and i wonder if you could give your perspective on how the pandemic has impacted you and yourur peers and what you
recommend the adults in this country and particularly right here in congress do about it. >> i you this clear will you the pandemic has had an impact on everyone,, especially young people. i think it is incredibly difficult. i have friends at home, they spent free time dlufring groceries to those that couldn't go to supermarkets and created enruchment programs to help underserved schooled in our area. but churn at home and parent that couldn't o speak english o couldn't help with home work and would fall behind. representative griffith mentioned providing for kids. everyone had increased responsibility with their own family. i think we all witnessed the
young people themselves went through so much and were meant to be around other people. we learn so much from being in classrooms. we learn the experiences of others from socializing. we witnessed devastation in our own communities and our own families and loss of loved ones. i think we consider what it means to feel safe and healthy. i ask megan who said she convinced her paurnts to be vaccinateds using vaccine resources. she v was working in an ice cre store in woodbridge, virginia. that is representative griffith's area. and she was yelled at by b
customers who refused to wear masks. and she feltwe uncredibly unsaf. i think as we discuss getting back to normal and classrooms, i thinkk there is so much to be said that we can't discount. they play a role in mental health and we shouldn't oppose them or separate them. >> thank you so much. i appreciate your perspective. wewe could use that wuz dom her in congress and i yield back. >> i thank the chair. this i is a important hearing. and i'm always mindful of the fact that as we enter into this last 20 months where we've been dominate bid a novel coronavirus, we do need to keep some humility about you because you may be wrong. and just a few months time. and maybe very wrong and very publicly wrong.
we've seenn leaders in public health fall into that. its no the a criticism. it's a j feature of the fact th you got a novel illness that is very, very daufrpg us are.e and where there is a lot of fear, a lot of fear on the part of parents and children both. sort i think this hearing is extremely i important. i have already learned a great deal. i think a great hearing is one that will lead to additional questions in ann additional hearing.mb ier echo what more us rogers sa, we need to hear from the heads of our agencies more than we are. iths cannot take weeks and montn to get a phone call answered on some of the very, very basic questions. questions aroundou masks, questions around development of vaccines for children. these are important questions that our constituents are asking us. it's not us trying to be difficult to the agency head.
but these are the questions that we are getting from our constituents weft go home and w are, after all, represenatives in the areas of the country that we represent. i would like to focus on a little bit this morning. dr. evans probably talking to you for juston a second. and then our two pediatricians. you know, i was struck the other dayic driving to my district office and dr. sanjay gupta was onga cnn. it was a dramatic increase in suicide and young women and how different it was,as i mean, it h like a lot. and then coupled with the articles that we're reading in as pubci street journal" lished several articles on
social media and facebook and instagram. i took the liberty ofhe printin off one of the articles. i'd like to ask unanimous consent to add to the record. >> if the gentlemen will submit it, i'll review it. >> yes, i'll be happy to. >> that is an area where we as a committee has jurisdictional public health. we have jurisdiction over tech and tech issues. it seems even as miss rogers brought it up last march about the development of products aumd for aas population. this waspu the population we wa to subscribe to our product. but it is also the product or the age that may be actually being hurt by their product.in would you care -- could you comment on that? is that something that you encountered as well? are the suicide -- >> talking to me? >>su yes, for teen girls and thc effects of the social media platforms that they may be having on them.
>> sure. >> so i think it is important to look at these platforms, both from the positives and the negatives. okay? what many ofis you have talked about the impact of social isolation onon children, we kno that has a negative impact. of and actually social media has been something that children, youth have been able to use to overcome that andnd make the connection n that sense, it's positive. as you point oout, there are soe negatives. the research around this is that it'sto how children use social media that is the biggest challenge. soso i think our social policy then has to look at not only the length of time and actually theo data around that or not -- or equivocal. nt not a strong correlation between the amount
ofa time and the negative impac that is more about how social media h is used. so i think our social policy has to look at that. >> and just underscores how it is important for our committee to perhaps investigate that. and our pediatricians, reading vaccines in young men and the risk of mycarditis. i think you're dismissing the females that complain about chest pain and fatigue. you have to see it up front and be honest about it. so would either of you care to weigh in on that? >> yeah. absolutely. i'm happy to. if dr. rush wants to dhim in. absolutely. i think it is one ofst strengths of our vaccine monitoring system that we haveha been able to identify such a rare potential effect of the vaccine.
andd then continued transparenc about that. we remain confident that the risks of the covid-19 illness are a greater risk to the vaccine. i will note i have a 13-year-old son and he's fully vaccinated. so i feel personally confident enough inat the data that my ow son is vaccinated. >> doctor, do you want to add anything to that? >> i think that is important to -- for that message to go out as well. >> the gentleman's time expired. i will allow dr. rush to answer the question. >> thankd you. i would agree with the doctor. i think that the rigor with which vaccine and all immunizations are studied in children is rigorous. you willal actually see that so of those cases are not as
prevalentar and that actually i preliminary studies that i heard about actually yesterday in grand rounds before you got on my planetu it shows that the ri of myocarditis is lower than the risk in the same age-group. i think it will be followed. i think it will absolutely be studiedat by pediatric scientis and intense multidisciplinary groups that come together to follow this long term and will advise us to your point, we'll learn as we go. and make adjustments along the way. >> thank you so much. the chair now recognizes miss rice for fives. minutes. >> thank you,fo madam chair. i want to t thank all the witnesses for coming today. i'd like to start with you, miss danielle. you are such an impressive young woman. you have achieved so much in your short time on this planet. and you really represent your generation so well. you mentioned in your opening statement that you -- after havingit a conversation with a
friend of yours, you kind of went down thee rabbit hole of truing to find information about certain things having to do with covid and vaccines, et cetera. and because you are in the generation has notli -- doesn't knowon life without cell phones computers and tablets, unlike me who grew up with none of that, i just -- i'm curious about where you got your information. we'vey had hearings especially with this subcommittee on the incredible increase in misand disinformation that is available on every social media platform. i'm sure you spend in your generation and spend time e on. how is it that you were able to parse through the informationth that you were finding on social media to the extent that you were there? and find accurate information that informed you and this kind of -- your teens effort that you
started? >> i initially came across a post on social media that unspurd vaxteen. it is this idea that this young person couldn't find information to help them. they were asking questions, hopingwe for answers. i think a -- i'm not sure how mh time was spent on the cdc site, i think there is obviously a wealthrt of trustworthy sources out there. but they can l be incredibly ha to navigatee especially if you'e someone who perhaps doesn't have a medical degree or know legal terminology. i spent an entire year going to trustworthy sources and putting them out there for young people understanding what they wanted to know and what language should be used that they would understand and putting them in one place. so i think there is something unique about the fact that my generation has grown up with
obviously a wealth of informationur at our finger tip and with social media. i you this we developed tools in that sense to question information we see online, to hold it to a higher standard. i know many young people who started political fact checking and work to hold representatives accountable. i think that is very great in our society. in school, i have classes about checking accuracy of sources and what could you verify? what should i trust? so i think in that sense, people we can reach. i do believe there is very much a need for greater education, for greater messaging. especially that recognizes personal stories. i think not just hearing the organization that doctors represent that agree we should be vaccinated but also to vak sinned her own son. i think stories like that are incredibly impactful. i think we should recognize that
everyone has their unique experience as well. and kind of form that with the people they can reach. i do believe young people have the tools they need to be the greatest ambassador and i think it is underutilized at this moment. >> you're an uncredible role model. thank you so much for being so engaged. dr. evans, you were talking about social media on the mental well-being of our churn.ur i can't think of anything more destructive to the development of our young people and their mental and emotional well-being. all you need to know is that the people who started all these socialno media platforms, they don't allow their churn to have
these tablets and to spend time on all of these social media we sites. so whatan can we do as legislats to reign in the impact? a lot has to do with parenting and how much parents allow their children they allow their children to spend on their devices. but what can we do to try to reign in this toxic environment that we're allowing our children to grow up on? >> well, i think one of the things is that we have to have better research.he we heard about the research that facebook did. didn't share it publicly. now it's been exposed. i thinkxp we have to use scienc based strategies to understand the impact. what we do no is as i mentioned that how churn view social media have an impact on their overall
mental health and well-being. they have come out and the proposal to have a special platform for younger children because the data just don't y support that. and t so i think we have to use all of that information to form public policy. and especially those areas where we knoww children are using social media in a way that is negative. >> thank you. i thank the gentleman. the chair now rouses mr. mckinley for five minutes.
in my opinion, i think they, one, they lost confidence in the government, in the cdc and the fda. and that was not helped by now a vice president kamala harris when shehe stated she wouldn't t vaccination developed under president trump. they undermine people's trust in medicinene and the vaccine. so instead of rebuilding confidence and dispelling misinformation, the administration is taking -- they're act like bullies. they'reon requiring all federal employees and contractors to over 100 employees to have all thee workers vaccinated by november 22nd. businesses are concerned about this. there is no guidance on this mandate. if employers are expected to comply by november 22nd,
employees will need to do some serious soul searching to determine how and if they're going to comply by november 1st to get that first shot. will there be religious and medical t exemptions? and when will they be clarified prior to november 1st? who will provide the immunity for employersg who have to fire their employees who are unwilling to get a shot? vaccinations were likely not part of their employment contract. who is going to provide immunity. what about workers that work remotely? are they required to get vaccinated? what about workers covered under the old americans act? e will employers be provided
immunity if they have to fire , these agoed employees? again, currently there is only one pfizer is the only one that has been fully approved for use by the fda. so are we going to rely on a single source across america for this vaccination? if an employer is required to take the vaccine and then the employee and thatid the employe becomes sick from a side effect, will the employer be held legally responsible or will there be immunity for hum for having been forced to do this? how long will thee mandates las? what is the goal? what are the metrics? are we trying to get to 100% vaccination rate? that's not going to happen. so what about the impact on our nursing and staffing levels? what about the effect on --
impact on national security? when ourh key scientists with tp secret clearance leave the workforce? with themac is that knowledge, e impact they have because dhoent want to comply with that. and what about -- and what about the impact on our children? when their parents meantal health or whatever when they lose their job. so insteadte of another governmt mandate, why shouldn't this administration be addressing the core problem? reinstilling trust in the government. anymi t of you have comments ab any ofnt those questions? >> c we recognize the next spear
for fuf minutes. >>ta thank you, madam chair. i thank all of the witnesses today. i particularly want to focus my questions with the doctor. i want to talk about mis and disnfction. it was way last marchco t that different subcommittee, the health subcommittee had a hearing on disinformation. it was in may that members of this committee includingan the chairman and the chair of the subcommittee sent a letter. i was on it too to facebook, talking about the misinformation is there. but you mentioned it in your -- in your testimony. that you gauff testimony that high lieutenanted the dangers of the -- and the role of covid
misinformation and vaccine hesitation and that you and other providers have to spend your time correcting false claims about the vaccines. the i would like you to answer where r. these myths being generated? and what do you think they have rivals, why do you think they gained such traction right now? >> thank you so much for that. incredibly importantib question. and one of the things i'll hue lite is that misinformation sen disinformation around vaccines is not knew to the covid vaccine. it is something thattac pediatricians have been dealing with for a very long time. and has been a challenge. i think thates comes from a numr of different places. there are people who intentionally spread this
information and any variety of reasons. i think, you know, that's the way our social media platforms work. you know, youwa see things that are reinforcing to what where you want to go. i think, you know, the other piece honest sli this has been a scary uncertain time. and so people look to try to find information that is a lot to wade through. it is part of why we really do encourage families to come back to their pediatrician, to talk this through. but sometimes that misinformation has h reached su a kind heightened pitch that those conversations can be difficult. >> i wonder if you have particular will you seen lines of misinformation that have targeted communities of color. >> yeah. we definitely have. you know, i think it is also important to note that there are other very real and valid reasons for vaccine hesitancy. i don't want to complete those
things and certainly communities of color have some very real reasons to ask questions and distrust the medical system at times. you know, but, yes, we certainly seen targeted misinformation at any number of communities and particularly communities of color as well.n >> i also want to talk about kids about pediatricians, it seems. they have been particularly targeted. you mentioned -- i'm quoting noww -- have been harassed, boo'd, spit upon, and/or threatened. that they even had to have some security. i wonder, you know, beyond the personal cost of such attacks, how has this affected the ability to actually go after thisbe misinformation?
>> my role is to guide the health and development of children. you worry very deeply about this. because it has deeply impacted d pediatricians. it is very difficultlt for them. it makes their jobs harder. many are losing staff because people are calling the office and people are calling the office and not being very nice when they call the office. so many staff are leaving because of that. thatea is putting increasing strain on the health system. so it's really -- i think what saddens me the most is it takes away for the pediatrician's ability to do all those things that we do, counsel new mothers and help family with their child's asthma attack or, you know, you know, talk them through difficult period in their life.
and distracts from our ability to provide service to our families. >> maybe we can haveft, an oversight hearing on that disinformation. and let me just say i have legislation that consumer protection online consumer protection m act which could ho these online people with misinformation be accountable for what they do. >> i thank the gentle lady for recognizing me. i would like to point and i heard serl colleagues mach this and we danced around it. ifo you want doctor dr. beers, you maud the commentnt that you want to re-estabilsh kchdz in science. i would suggest to you if you want to do t that, you need to practice science and stop practicing political science.
and i'm concerned that that's a lot of what is driving this debate. i was just looking at an article where the cdc is getting infeernsns from the teacher's unions and had to do with a physician from the cdc regarding the reopening of schools and shortly after they put out their statement, they had an unt action from the american teachers federation and they changed their position. the cdc tightened masking guidelines after threats from the teacher's union. i can go on pt here's "the washington post" article about the cdc. yet we persist in keeping the schools closed or, for instance,
now looks like we're headed toward mandating vaccines for churn as young as 5. and thatee concerns me. it concerns a lot of people. i think what we're going to see out of this is what we've seen during the pandemic is massive increase in the number of children being home schooled and what we've a seen through the years again on political science and being applied to home-school childrenwh to talk about socialization and issues like that. we have a massive increase of eating disorders, like a 90% increase.' 50% increase of suicide attempts, emergency room attempts because of sue sued attempts in different places.
it is just disheartening. because you people are supposed to be the ones who have the greatest insight into children's health as pediatricians. yet, we persist in getting conflicting information from tht institutions that we should count on to be consistent. that's what is really troubling about all this. how would. you respond to that? >> thank you so much for the question. althink, certainly i can largely speak about my own organization, the american academy pediatrics and how we make our recommendations. we issued approximately 30 interim guidance statements which we for each one we convene a multidisciplinary work group ofof pediatric experts from acrs the country from a wild variety of fields who look at all the literature. they review w.that. the they come together. they make recommendations and
then we review that. >> i'm not interested in the process. i'm interested in the outcomes and what comes out in official statements. and, for s,instance, talking abt the socialization and we know that that it'sid not an issue wh homen school kids that what's going on with our public school kids. it ison largely driven by the teachers unions which is in con flukt with what the science shows. i think it's going to impact the politics because the nea membership is declining. as more and more paurnts are getting fed up with it. i would like to ask dr. hogue an question. that is, when you look at the antibody levels of young children compared to adults, i think the average age of a schoolteacher is 42. the how would the antibody
levels of a 5 to 11-year-old be relative to a 40-year-old? >> so i just want to say first of all, this is not my area of expertise. but having looked at prevalence, i have seen that antibodies that wead measure are persisting lonr among children after they've been infected than among adults. so i don't know if that completely answers yourr question. but they do tend to have morrow bust antibody as well to the infection. >> well i raise that question because of the article that i saw -- i know must time. >> not to be cutting the gentleman off, but we have votes coming up. i want to try to get to all the questions. >> what time are votes? >> any minute. >> okay. i yield. . >> we will be happy to look at your article. >> i yield. >> i thank the gentleman.
chair now recognizes you for five minutes. >> thank you,rt madam chair. thank you for hosting this important hearing.my i have questions that i want to offerr the panel. i authored a bill. they address, would address to the academy of mental health institutes. the mental health impact on front liners and children. of this covid-19. i think it certainly could incorporate the effects of social media on the mental health outcomes. now that adolescence as young as 12 eligible for the vaccines, they're playing an increasingly role in protecting millions of churn in this country. parents are sensitive to safety
considerations when decide wlg to vaccinate the children, even children 12 ander older eligibl for the pfizer vaccine. so, doctor, how safe and effectiver is this vaccine for youth, particularly compared to other routine immunizations such as those against the flu and measles? >> yes. thank you so much. it's extraordinarily safe and no effective vaccine. you know, we know, you know, millionsct of teens have gottent so far. it is safe and effective. and, in fact, more effective than some of the other vaccines that we give it has a very high efficacy. again, i note both of my teenagers have gotten it. >> thank you. thank you for your response. and dr. rush, in your testimony, you state,te and i quote, tennessee is one of a number of southern states wherenf there ia degree of vaccine unreadiness and misinformation. . now polling such as that done by kaiserat family foundation indicates that this hesitancy
and misinformation maybe shaping parents decisions about getting their teens and 12-year-olds vaccinated against the virus. can you elaborate on that quote that you shared and the thinking hund it?de behind it? >> i think that's what we observed as we navigated the pandemic in tennessee and looked at thes states around us particular will you as we monitored the beginnings of the delta surge beginning two months ago and as we have navigated the journey. i think as we have looked at our own experience at churn's children's hospital, we're seeing robust uptake among greater than 12 and those are those that embraced the vaccination. many families remain hesitant and our state as well as our surrounding states also lag behind some of the other stauts states in the country. we anticipate that that will
persist into the younger than 12. asto t well. and so like we have shared the pediatrician and the t speciali who's care for the children and families are the sources of truth. we do believe thethth vaccines safe. thaten process to bring them to approval even under emergency use authorization is a rigorous process. nobody wants to put a chuld at risk. we believe in the safety of these vaccines for all churn when they're ready. >> and what concerns have you heard about parentstsd? about vaccinating their kids and how do you respond? >> i think the doctor's comment was relevant. these are safe. they've gone through the same rigorous process that all childhood immunizations have gone through. firstdu t testing in adults. first testing then in an age starting with older children and then moving to the younger
children. that is the way all immunizations for children have been studied for decades. there is rigor in looking at every sidenc effect, tracking that, doing the adjudication and there e may be an uptick in oner more sidero effects, pulling together the experts that review that process under secondary and other processes. i think the -- we're scientists and atpediatricians. i it thist one-on-one conversations between pediatricians or other health specialists are invaluable to ns walking families and even the teenagers as they make informed decisions through that process. that's how you respond. >> okay. i will just conclude by indicating that while we're talking about kids 12 and older or eligible for the vaccine andn as we continue down to look at younger than 12, on going trials
are evaluating the dosing and kacy of vaccine in churn under 12. i believe that fda will will review the data as they are submitted possibly in the next couple of weeks. so there is hope there.ai so with that, madam chair, i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. mr. dunn, you're recognized for five minutes. >>o thank you very much, madam chair. children have proven tore more resilient to the physical effects of covid than adults and our hospitalization rauts for infected churn are, of course, much lower than for infectedd adults. however,no many children unknowingly have contracted the disease and passed on with lull oron no symptoms. so despite the data supporting these finals, one of the most contentious debates is covid-19 policy in thetu school. florida has great story to tell here when it comes tos keeping schools open.
i believe children's mental health improved. given the low rates of hospitalization and low rates of serious disease among children and thatth many cases go all together undetected. i think we can learn a lot about covid-19 testing for natural immunity. secondary s to infection. it could truly guide science basedst decisions about masking socialan distancing and vaccination w policies. i think another piece of the puzzle that is missing is when it comes to kids from covid-19 is cost effective treatment options. we appropriated billions of
dollars to hhs to study therapeutics. this were a number of them in the pipeline when we started this. i'mm frustrated by the lack of treatment options that we have to show for that a year and a half later. we did a great job with the vaccine. i think all of us share the goal of wanting to protect our children from pandemic. i fear, however, on the contrary we are harming our children. yeal development in an effort to control an uncontrollable virus by secondary measures of isolation. i am concerned abo to control an uncontrollable virusut. i am concerned about vaccine mandates by governments and schools and by private industry that ignore the considerations of natural immunity in covid-19. how can we use that information to gather weather data on how covid impacts kids. >> i think that this is a great question because it's something that a lot of parents and american citizens want to know.
how much protection does natural immunity provide? i think that this is something that we have not gotten as much information on, as, for example in europe. and we are seeing some data showing that natural immunity may provide better protection that vaccination. but we really need to have some sort of a method and transparency from the cdc about exactly what the effects of natural immunity are. especially in kids. when we are looking at cdc data and it may be over 40% of kids who have been assessed. and i know when it comes to myocardia it is and the second dose, a lot of parents would like to know, what is the benefit of getting a second dose to the vaccine? especially in kids already infected? and so i think that was basic questions that a lot of people in the united states would like to know, and we have not had
messaging about -- we have not had messaging about that from the cdc in months. >> i think that's true, it's a simple test that's available. we have experience. and certainly compared to the sars-cov-2 one epidemic 20 years ago -- dr. hoeg, you published an op-ed on your research findings, on school policy being close to the cdc policy, which frankly misrepresented your findings. i commend you for setting the record straight. is there a way we can measure the harm done to our kids when federal agencies use the scientific community to push and agenda regardless of the facts on the ground. >> yeah, i mean, we would have to know and quantify the harms that were accrued from school closures on children. because of unwillingness to
reopen the schools in a timely manner after we had the north carolina study and our study from wisconsin that showed that schools can safely reopen. in our study we had varying degrees of -- >> let me ask you one more question before the time expires. >> yeah, yeah. >> again, is it fair, dr. hoeg -- would you agree that social and mental health effects have been exacerbated by the cdc's failure to follow the science and by inconsistent messaging? >> yes, i do think that. yeah. >> thank you for your time. i think the panel. madam chair, i yield back. >> i think the gentleman. the chair now recognizes mr. peters for five minutes. >> thank you madam chair. [inaudible] i am concerned that the pandemic has exacerbated the physical and mental health
harms to children. and i want to know what's dr. beers and dr. evans -- dr. beers, you are not an education expert, but rather a child health specialist. i'm interested in your leadership of the american academy of pediatrics. what do we know about how the pandemic is affecting adolescent development and academic achievement? dr. beers? i >> think you so much for that. effectsthe effects on children r the past 18 months have been substantive. it has impacted mental health. it has impacted education. and those impacts have not been equitably distributed. i think children living and low income families, often children in communities of color, children who have experienced greater amounts of grief and loss are impacted more. we are hearing this from our pediatricians across the country. i do actually do quite a bit of
work in mental health systems here in washington d.c.. and on access to mental health for children. we are seeing that here too. i think in terms of recovery, i think we can recover. we know that children will thrive with safe and ordering relationships. we know that with good support they can recover. i think it's incumbent upon us now to make sure that we are putting the supports in place to make sure that children get the support that they need to address all the concerns that we have raised here today. >> i would like you to respond to the same general question. how is the pandemic affected adolescent development -- [inaudible] >> yes, well, we know that the pandemic has had a big effect. one thing i want to stress is that it's not just the pandemic. we talk about a [inaudible] because we have the financial and racial justice that have
been raised, particularly for asian americans. and the experience of the summer last year. there are a number of things that are impacting on children. the one thing that we know, number one, is that children are resilient. children are going to be able to bounce back. but we as adults have to do and implement policies that help that to happen. we believe that we have to take a comprehensive public health population health approach. we have to have effective and efficient clinical services for children who are experiencing significant problems. but we also have to move beyond that and look at children who are at risk. we know who the children in our communities who are at greater risk for behavioural health challenges. the problem with are dealing with behavioural health is that we wait until crises before we intervene. we have to have more funding and resources to identify those children early on and to intervene in ways to reduce the
risk or at least to intervene early. and finally, we have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to build resilience in children, keeping children healthy and safe. we know from a lot of psychological research what are the factors that are related to psychological health. we need to make sure that teachers understand that, we need to make sure that parents understand that. we need to make sure that we have programs that build resiliency in children to do that. one other thing that i think is really important. we know from studies that look at disasters like 9/11 or hurricanes -- for children, the symptoms i last from one to four years. the other thing that we have to realize is that with children, the kinds of harms that are happening really affect the trajectory of their lives. we need to be thinking longer than four years in terms of the
efforts at addressing their needs. that means we need to be building the infrastructure today. i am concerned that we are using one shot, temporary funding when what we should be doing today is building the infrastructure and the workforce and the infrastructure and programs that will last over the course of how these children will experience these problems over the next years. >> if i could follow up -- you said you would like more funding to these issues, for early intervention and support. [inaudible] does that exist today? would we have to create something new for that? >> i think it's both. they are our existing early intervention programs but we do not have nearly enough of those resources. i have been a mental health commissioner for many years. in most systems around the country, 95% of the services,
dollars that commissioners like myself have, are directed at treatment. treatment, by definition, is a reaction to something that has already happened. if we really want to get ahead of this we have to have more resources for early intervention. we have to get upstream and one of the big problems with the way that we have dealt with children's mental health in particular, is that it is very reactive. if you ask the typical parent about getting their child -- >> i'm sorry, my time has expired. >> i apologize -- >> my time has expired, i yield back. >> i appreciate that dr.. this committee several years ago had many hearings on pediatric mental health. and we welcome your continued involvement. because we do need to get ahead of it. and mr. joyce, you have been patient, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you madam chair. and thank you for convening this important topic. i'm going to ask some sustained
questions for dr. hoeg to start. dr. hoeg, do you feel that using masks on kids in school stops the spread of covid-19? >> i think we need to look at the signs that we have and we need to admit that we don't have enough science or randomized controlled trials on this topic. but we have observational studies. one from the covid response desk in florida. on the impact of mask mandates on teachers and students. and the cdc in georgia not finding an impact on children in terms of disease. so we recognize that estimates may provide a false sense of security, they are not necessarily impacting the detecting the impact that they are having. we have clinical trials in bangladesh now on surgical
masks among adults, tracking adults over 50 years old. and cloth masks in that study did not have any detectable impact in terms of virus rates. >> dr. hoeg, do you feel that isolating and quarantining children effects mental health and increases mental health issues like anxiety and suicide and children? >> yes, i do. i believe that from what i have seen, we have watched children arrive with mental health disorders, coinciding with keeping children in remote learning. and -- i mean, children are by nature tough creatures. and we are taking a major chance with their mental health. >> finally, dr. hoeg, do you feel that the large spike in bmi we are seeing in children,
are we facing long term future impacts in pediatric health? >> yes, absolutely. we saw a doubling of increase in pmi among three to 11 year olds. they were the most highly impacted in bmi in a study released by the cdc. obesity has enormous impacts on health later in life. >> thank you for those answers. i would like to turn to dr. beers. according to cdc data, early in the covid-19 pandemic, the total number of emergency department visits related to child abuse and neglect slightly decreased. but the percentage of such visits resulting in hospitalizations increased in comparison to 2019. we have also seen reports of increased depression and anxiety in children and teens. could you comment on the potential mist and unreported
cases in mental health programs problems in children? and do you think that this can be attributed to the destruction of children's in-person attending a school? >> yes, thank you. these are absolutely things to be concerned about. and i do think the lack of in-person schooling for many children was a contributing factor for many factors. and it's important to recognize why the ap, early on in our guidance, said that it was the highest priority for children to get back to school safely, and to do that with mitigating precautions. >> thank you for making that statement clear. that the american academy of pediatrics advocated for the rapid return of kids to school. dr. beers, you made a statement and i share your concerns regarding mr. vaccines for kids. and i've been working with my colleagues dr. schrier on that
issue. in my remaining time i want to acknowledge, dr. beers, that your expertise as a pediatrician and as a president of the american academy of pediatrics, it is so important. but i want to acknowledge something that people may not know about you. and that is your training at the portsmouth naval hospital and your support of the united states military and their children at gitmo in cuba at the national medical center in but as the. i worked during desert storm and desert shields they are and i saw the hardworking military physicians caring for the children and all the individuals there. i want to acknowledge that in the few minutes i had remaining. thank you madam chair and i yield. >> i think the gentlemen. ms. schrier is now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you madam chair. >> this discussion is extremely important to me.
>> thank you to all of our witnesses. when data from abroad, children were only minimally effective affected by covid-19 -- with the highly contagious delta variant, some -- quick question, do kids -- >> yes, they definitely can. and we were told about a heartbreaking story about sophia, who contracted covid at school, gave it to her parents, both of whom tragically perished to from the disease. can children spread this disease from others? >> yes, they can, in fact the cdc estimates that almost 120 children have lost a primary caregiver to covid. >> oh my goodness. two children get long covid? yeah >> yes, children can get long overdue. we're still learning about that
but they can get it and it can be very impactful on the life. >> can you list some of the primary incentives to get so people understand how severe long covid potentially is? >> yeah, absolutely. again they have cardiac heart symptoms, they can have persistent lung systems, neurological systems, sometimes, where they have trouble speaking and many of them have really debilitating fatigue and dizziness, where they have difficulty standing up and going about their daily lives. and we don't even know how long that will last. >> so, have [inaudible] rates of covid in children increased with the start of the school year? >> yes, we definitely have been seeing more covid. >> and that difference is different in different parts of the country. what would you say has distinguished schools where there has been lots of transmission from schools where there has not been lots of transmission, since masks have been a very contentious topic today. >> yeah, absolutely. and i think there's really two big things. one is the immunization rates in the community and the school
is the contributing. and the other is the prevalence of the layered mitigated factors and that schools implement, so things such as masking, distancing, hand washing, you know, texting, things like that. >> thank you, i would also like for clarification, there is a difference between clause cloth masks and in 95 surgical masks in response to some of my colleagues. i would also add that studies done with previous iterations of the virus are different from the current delta information. so, in your opinion, given the kind of children who are asymptomatic and still test positive for covid, is that a role for surveillance testing's schools to keep infectious children home when they can spread it to others? >> yeah, i do think so. i think, you know, this is one of the things we talk about as one of our lived precautions in schools and [inaudible] testing can be a really important part of the overall group of precautions to keep children in schools safely as much as possible. >> and to go down that path,
what happens if a child in a class tests positive? >> oh, gosh. they have to go home, of course, and we hope that the remain well and don't need to be hospitalized, children, that it will be the case, but they need to be home for ten to 14 days. >> that case scenario their home with them for ten days. [inaudible] their parents are with them home for ten days. [inaudible] next to them, the close call deaths i met with a school principal who has the job of conduct racing. who has them all of those kids? >> you're, it varies a little bit depending on whether or not students are wearing masks or whether or not they are vaccinated. but they can be to be home for seven to 40 days if they're vaccinated and not consistently vaccine. >> so we get multiple children home and middle schoolers, and highschoolers, we get many children homes because they're in multiple classes per day. and we are talking about all of these kids potentially being home just in case. we talked about tests to state
policies and [inaudible] doc to hoeg talked about and some schools including alleys schools have a policy where one person in a classroom is positive, those around that person, instead of being asked to stay home for 40 days, actually can be tested, the whole classroom can be tested every day, and they can stay in the masks, with other safety precautions. what do you think about that test to state policy and what that means for children? >> yeah, i think that can be a really effective strategy to help make sure children are in school as much as possible. again, it has to be in the context of other important strategies, including vaccination, and at least for right now, masking. but testing can really help us keep our kids in class. lots of people could question, we've heard about learn a lot about mental health in kids. if we want our kids mental health to be could, we want to keep them in school. what are the most important things we can do to make sure we keep kids in school to protect their mental health? >> vaccinate anyone who is eligible, and wear masks when you are in school.
>> thank you. >> i think the gentlelady. it takes a pediatrician to get to the core, we appreciate it. >> [inaudible] i'm pleased now to recognize mr. hands for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. [inaudible] i first developed the [inaudible] today, i'm so impressed with your composure and poised. now [inaudible] testifying in front of congress, will be looking into our questions but. but thank you. in your testy you mentioned your fear of infecting others. and i think a lot of younger americans feel that same [inaudible] my daughters were much younger than you, seven and 11 in fact, they feel that fear. and [inaudible] will they get [inaudible] as a result of that [inaudible] ? the restrictions, social distancing, wearing of mask, nobody elected. but we all have a responsibility to keep our families, our communities and our children's face. so i think you and i will come back to. i want to first start with doctor beers.
oh don't think we have emphasized to love [inaudible] in this hearing, can you just speak to the science supporting children wearing masks to slow the spread of covid? >> yeah, absolutely. i'd be happy to. you know, this is one of these areas that our expert group refute for interim guidance [inaudible] we've reviewed hundreds of studies, actually, from a variety of different types of studies and a variety of different settings. and there are signs this robust, and we are seeing, actually, this inaction in schools, we are schools who have implemented strong mitigation policies have much lower rates of covid in the dense corps who have not implemented universal masking i think the recent examples are a couple of studies in mmwr from florida, another one from georgia, there's another big root out of north carolina that saw the same thing. so it's a strong, robust for evidence. >> [inaudible] you know, inconvenient, one effective, and to, really does
[inaudible] in my own children in terms of their [inaudible] spread to others in the community or to their loved ones, their grandparents. they appreciate that. it's commendable that it just nine months of more than a 385 million doses of covid vaccines have been administered, and that's 181 million adults [inaudible] are fully vaccinated in our country. unfortunately, this only represents 55% of eligible americans nationwide. living millions of children at risk of serious infections. [inaudible] of an unvaccinated elementary teacher in california who took her mask off to reach to students ended up infecting more than half of the classroom. so cdc director, dr. walensky, said the situation is a prime example of how [inaudible] undermine efforts to protect children too young to be vaccinated. doctor beers, your testimony [inaudible] that, quote, vaccines are
[inaudible] by decreasing the spread of the virus and allowing children to return to a more normal semblance of life, which is what we all white. why is it important that the [inaudible] ineligible children and their older peers and adults get the vaccine, and how does this help support [inaudible] return to the classroom? >> thank you for that. you know, as we've discussed right now, children under the age of 12 don't have any access to vaccine, and even when, i think we are hopeful that we'll have a vaccine for five to 11 year old, was to have much younger children who are not yet eligible. as we know, children, anyone, you get [inaudible] exposed to it, and vaccinated, 11 adults have significantly, significantly lower rates of being infected with covid. and so when the adults in a child's life are vaccinated, that's a significantly decreases their exposure to covid and significantly decreases the likely point that they will get infected as well. >> all right. [inaudible]
will your voice in the conversation is so important. we know youth aged 12 to 18 have the lowest vaccination rate of any age group. why do you think the vaccination rate is so low among teens? >> thank you. [inaudible] i think there are several issues [inaudible] [inaudible] the vaccinated. [inaudible] they need appeared prevalent [inaudible] who cannot be [inaudible] to access as well [inaudible] [inaudible] is safe and effective, and i think of a lot of it [inaudible] but if you believe that there
are [inaudible] confusion about whether or not they are necessary for a young person, how effective is it? [inaudible] problems of getting vaccinated [inaudible] which vaccines work best, how many doses [inaudible] [inaudible] and i do believe [inaudible] [inaudible] at great risk [inaudible] [inaudible] stay home. so [inaudible] more risk. [inaudible] answered and i think there's [inaudible]
but i think [inaudible] . >> thank you so much, [inaudible] i ask you an unclear question. [inaudible] apologize. >> the chair will announce that we've come to the fun part of the day when there's a vote on the floor and we still have more members who wish to ask questions and our witnesses are doing great. so, here's what we are going to do. mr. griffith and i are going to go [inaudible] and come back. mr. peters has miraculously appeared after voting. and we have [inaudible] halloween who is a member of this committee and then we have three other members who have weighed on to this committee because this is such an important hearing, and we appreciate that, and we will go to them. and so with that, i'm pleased to read recognize mr. or have one for five minutes, and mr. peters will take the chair. thank you. >> thank you, madam chair.
we [inaudible] about the covid-19 vaccine today. i'm very hopeful that the fda will soon issue and the norm urgency use authorization to make sure that children under 12 will be able to get that much needed vaccination protection. in the meantime, i find it unacceptable that we are not doing everything to protect children's families, their teachers, and other school personnel as we return to in-person instruction, which i believe in, that has to be part of the process, in bringing our children into the school environment. some states, like arizona, have chosen to take many public health [inaudible] away from this process, so the governor has is using header federally allocated covid-19 money and elite funds in fact to further incentivize school kids to do away with public health best practices, like
masking. that would cost each, the school for east each student, 1800 dollars president, taking money, actually, away from the student's education. they are forcing school districts to choose between much-needed school funding and the safety of children, teachers, and family. i want to get to my questions here. doctor beers, i have one question here, but what i would like to ask you is your vision for not now, not the rest of this year, maybe hopefully we get over this pandemic. when do you see that this committee continually has to do, the committee has to do, to me be able to make sure that we know enough in the future, to be able to make rational decisions and hopefully in collaboration with our fellow members? >> well, thank you so much for
that question. it's a wonderful question to answer, actually. i think first and foremost, really, always putting children at the center and making sure that children are our priority when we are making decisions. i think there's so many important reasons for that, and we are seeing, unfortunately, some of the problems that have been set. we've said, that have arrived when that doesn't happen. i think we do need to invest in evaluation and research to make sure that we understand how to help children best, and i think investing in, as dr. evans said, investing in things for the long term, understanding that he thinks impact it children's lifestyle and they do need these services and support for their childhood. and we're really making sure we're investing in long-term solutions and not just a very short [inaudible] [noise]. >> and these investments, would you say they are critical to make sure that we will be able to be in a position to have the
studies necessary to make better decisions if they're suckers again, or when it occurs again? >> most definitely, this will help us have the support information we need. it's important for us, and as others have noted, it's important to impact health delivery systems in pediatrics. they are doing important work, so we can continue to respond and take care of children. >> my last question to you, doctor, is -- my other questions have been asked already. beyond these basic measures that we have been discussing, do you see any other creative strategies for helping to protect kids in school? and what else should schools be considering today? >> yeah. i have actually seen some wonderful and creative things.
in my mind, this is one of the sad things about these contentious debates we get into, is that it distracts from being able to dive in and do these important, innovative things for our kids. there is outdoor schooling. there is practice outside. there is all sorts of neat things that schools are doing. partnering with community based agencies. looking to -- as we said, looking to our youth for ideas. there are millions of things we can be doing and that's where i hope we can focus our energies. >> thank you, doctor, thank you to the panel. i hope to get to the point where we can work together as a body and protect public safety. thank you very much. i yield. >> we have now next in line, mr. carter. is mr. carter back?
the chair now recognizes -- take your time to get yourself settles -- you are recognized for five minutes. >> dr. beers, i want to start with you, the academy of pediatrics recommendations from the summer of 2020, stated that the risk of school closures was the muscle must greater then the health effects of the pandemic. and that this could result in sexual abuse, physical abuse, and suicidal ideation. you reiterated this in your written testimony and you said, and i quote, the benefits of in-person school outweigh the risk in almost all circumstances, unquote. and your experience, which is obviously extensive -- in your experience, why did so many districts ignore the recommendations from the american academy of pediatrics? and from others?
before reopening for the 2020 to 2021 school year. >> thank you, i wish i knew the answer to that question. i do want to emphasize, there are two aspects to that guidance. it is incredibly important to do everything we can to open schools and to do so in a way that keeps our students and staff safe. we have some schools reopening without those precautions, we have some schools not reopening. as to why? gosh, there was a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainty. i wish that we had been able to come together more and really rally around being able to open schools safely and do the right thing for our kids. i think we can learn from looking back. but looking forward, we need to look forward and make sure we are continuing to do the right thing for our kids. >> okay, fair enough. as you know, dr. beers, freedom of information act emails
between the cdc and teachers union emails show that the cdc had worked with the american federation of teachers on school guidance. this was at the time when every teacher in the country was eligible for the vaccination. in at least two instances that we are aware of, the unions suggestions were incorporated into the guidance. did the cdc consult with the academy of american pediatrics before the guidance was released? >> we have a very nice relationship with the cdc, actually. we talk very regularly. we learn from them and they learn from us. we have good communication and collaboration. i don't know that i can speak to those emails, though. >> that's fine. i'm sure you do have a good relationship. but the question was, did the cdc consult with the academy of american pediatrics before the
guidance was released? >> i think -- you know, we talk with him on a really regular basis and share information on a regular basis. weekly we are talking to each other and sharing information. so i think we take each other's expertise into account all the time. >> okay. is that a yes or no? i'm ... >> i think i can only assume that they took our expertise into account because we talk so regularly -- >> on the other hand, i would assume that they didn't because they didn't follow it. okay ... dr. hoeg and dr. beers, do you think there was any scientific reason that children should not have been in the classroom last semester? >> i don't think that there was, on a broad scale, a scientific reason that we should have been keeping children out of school. [inaudible]
the results of the north carolina study. lopping on that yeah, there was flip-flopping at that time on the messaging we were getting. doctor fauci was saying we need to get kids back to school. then we have the studies. the cdc sort of walked back on that. i obviously was not involved in the emails with the teachers unions but it was a bit [inaudible] as to why they change their recommendations. >> doctor, while i have, you i will move quickly, because i have little time left. but are you aware of any studies on the impact of wearing a mask that -- the impact that wearing a mask has on children, particularly on those in kindergarten through fifth grade? >> in terms of preventing covid or in terms of other impacts? >> other impacts. and [inaudible] both. >> so again, in terms of preventing covid, we only have
observational and not randomized studies with children. we have not found the mask mandates on children have had an impact on covid. and then in terms of the negative impacts of masking, we need better studies. but in scandinavia they are not having masks for those under 12 because they need proof that it works. we have taken the opposite approach. we will mask them until we find proof and we -- >> but you do agree that there are some other side effects that could have happened because of masks effects on children? >> the gentleman's time has expired. do you want to answer the question? very quickly. >> obviously there is a reason. we don't know about masks all day every day. there is the benefit of seeing people smile and being comfortable without a mask on. i think that's pretty obvious. in terms of serious side effects i think we would need more research before we set those out. >> thank you, dr. beers and
thank you mister chairman for your indulgence. >> the chair now recognizes mr. mcnerney four questions for five minutes. >> thank you, i thank the panel for this discussion. dr. beers, we heard that children this morning are 20 times more likely to get infected [inaudible] . is this a sound statistic? >> that was one study but yes. i do think that and i agree that children are more likely to get infected with covid in community base settings. >> all right, thank you. we have championed health care providers on the front lines throughout the pandemic. due to another surge due to the delta virus, it has become clear that [inaudible] the president of the children's hospital in tennessee,
[inaudible] caregivers and health care providers. your testimony notes that in recent weeks the number of children hospitalized for covid-19 has tripled in children hospitalized. can you give us a sense of why children's hospitals like yours across the country are experiencing now that we have a sudden increase in demand? and what are the trends for [inaudible] ? >> thank you for that question. so throughout the first three surges, most children's hospital set up covid units, anticipating that we would have higher numbers of hospitalized pilgrims within our environment. we have sustained covid units. and i would say that for most of the time we have averaged two to four patients. that went up in the third surge that began in november. with children, as i think we have talked about today, there are two ways for hospital is a mission. the first maybe with acute
illness. the majority of children may have an underlying condition. diabetes, obesity, cancer, congenital heart disease. but they also, the healthier children, they may have a second wave where they become ill with a multi inflammatory syndrome in children. those children absolutely require hospitalization. and about 25% of them require intensive care for a portion of the hospitalisation. with the onset of the delta surge, because so many more children are simply just becoming infected, we are seeing more children. our peak number prior to august of this year was 15. we actually had to open a second unit to hold covid children. we had our maximum number in early september, it was 27 in our children's hospital. a quarter of those were in intensive care. and at least half of those in
intensive care were on alert for more than just support from a ventilator. they were on alert for cardio five past technology that would support their organs that were sailing. so while it is a small number proportionally, what we know is that the rate of hospitalizations is not really different in the delta surge. but because so many more children are infected, more children are requiring hospitalization. what has been hard for the health care workforce in children's hospitals is that we have been running at near capacity since spring. as public health measures were eased, children began to socialize and viruses that normally infect children appeared to infect children off-season. so we have been full all season with what we as pediatrics staff traditionally think of as winter and fall viruses. so we have layered on top of the full capacity the covid-19 delta surge.
our staff retired, we have run at full capacity for six months now. beyond full capacity at times. and as i stated earlier, the other diseases that we have is our behavioural health diseases. i have consistently had equally if not more numbers of children admitted to my hospital in the past weeks for behavioural health diagnoses as i have had covid. >> thank you. throughout this pandemic, we have lauded health care workers as heroes. but the pandemic is worse than it was a year ago. this workforce continues to work under increasingly demanding circumstances. i am very pleased that this committee recently passed provisions in the build back better act, addressing mental health of workers. but it is clear that we need to seek ways to assist the nation's health care workers. thank you panel and thank you
chair, i yield back. >> thank you. i want to thank the witnesses for your participation in the hearing today. i know it takes a lot of work to prepare for this. a lot of stamina to sit through it. by your testimony, of course, is invaluable as we try to make the policy decisions that we make with the best information possible. so thank you dr. beers, dr. evans, dr. rush and dr. hoeg. and kelly danielpour for your work on the vaccine. witnesses will appear before the subcommittee. i ask witnesses to agree to respond promptly should you receive any. and dr. bridges has asked to submit a record from the wall street journal into the record. without objection, that is ordered. with that, the subcommittee is adjourned. [inaudible]
during the covid-19 pandemic at the senate health, education, labor and pensions committee hearing. senators from both sides of the aisle questioned the secretaries on several issues, including mask mandates in schools as well as the availability and affordability of rapid covid 19 tests. this hearing runs two hours and 20 minutes. >>