CDC director on whether kids should do trick or treat on Halloween

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Health and Science

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 31: A child dressed up as Wonder Woman for Halloween in Fort Green Park on October 31, 2020 in New York City. The CDC posted on its website alternative ways to safely celebrate the holiday. (Photo by David Dee Delgado / Getty Images)

David Dee Delgado | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Children should be able to sweeten or treat this Halloween with a few reservations, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Sunday.

“I definitely hope so,” said Walensky on CBS’s “Face the Nation” when asked if it was safe for kids to trick or treat this year. “If you are able to be outdoors, absolutely,” she said.

The head of the CDC also recommended that parents and children “limit amounts” on Halloween.

“I wouldn’t necessarily go to a crowded Halloween party, but I think we should let our kids go trick or treating in small groups,” Walensky said. “I hope we can do that this year.”

On Monday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that a smaller dose of their Covid-19 vaccine was safe and produced a “robust” immune response in a clinical study involving children ages 5-11.

Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla said the data would soon be presented to the Food and Drug Administration.

“It’s a matter of days, not weeks,” Bourla said in an interview with ABC’s This Week.

“Then it’s up to the FDA to review the data and come to its conclusions and whether or not to approve it,” Bourla said. “If they approve, we will be ready with our manufacturing to provide this new formulation of the vaccine.”

The vaccine for children ages 5-11 is “a third of the dose we give the rest of the population”.

Meanwhile, with most of the schools up and running again, CDC’s Walensky told This Week that children who get the coronavirus are primarily not getting it while they are in school.

“Our science has actually shown that the disease generally comes from the community,” said Walensky. “If schools have an adequate containment and prevention strategy in place, their transmission doesn’t happen there.”

If proper security precautions are not taken in schools, transmission is much higher, the CDC chief said.

Most schools, 96%, stayed open that school year, Walensky said.

“Still, we also published a study from Arizona that showed that places where no masks were attached were three and a half times the risk of outbreaks than places where masks were attached,” Walensky said.

“We know how to protect them,” said Walensky. “And if we don’t use the right containment strategies, outbreaks are more likely and need to be closed.”

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