'Keep your masks on,' Wakefield school pupils told as children now more at risk of Covid infection than adults

School pupils in Wakefield are being told, "keep your masks on", with the Covid infection rate now significantly higher in children than in adults.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 3:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 3:54 pm

Figures shown at a meeting on Tuesday suggested the district's younger people were now far more likely to contract the virus than older people, most of whom have been jabbed.

Wakefield s director of public health, Anna Hartley, said there was an ongoing risk of children's education being disrupted by Covid.

The latest rolling seven day case rate for 11 to 16 year-olds was 116 per 100,000 people.

The infection rate among secondary school age pupils is above 100 cases per 100,000 in Wakefield.

By contrast, in the over 80s the case rate was just 12 per 100,000 people.

Speaking at a meeting of local NHS bosses, Wakefield's director of public health Anna Hartley said she'd asked students to keep wearing masks because of the infection rates.

She said: "What we can see is that in the 80-plus group cases are very, very low. That's reassuring and a testament to the success of the vaccination campaign.

"But when you get to the unvaccinated population and particularly that age group between five and 18 (years old), the numbers really go up, so that's what's driving our increase in rates at the moment.

Anna Hartley, Wakefield's director of public health

"As restrictions have been reduced, people have had more opportunity to be infected."

Ms Hartley said that the Delta variant, previously known as the Indian variant, was becoming the predominant strain of the virus in the Wakefield district.

Although it spreads more easily, Ms Hartley said that there was evidence to suggest its impact on sufferers may be "less serious" than other strains.

She added: "The challenge for us as a system is schools.

"While there's no particular risk to children's health, there is the risk around them missing more of their education. That's the real challenge.

"That's why as director of public health I'm advising that children continue to wear face coverings in school, just because we want to limit disruption to their education."

Local Democracy Reporting Service