Political News

Biden reassures 2nd grader afraid of getting Covid-19: 'Don't be scared, honey'

Posted February 16, 2021 10:51 p.m. EST

— President Joe Biden at a Tuesday CNN town hall sought to reassure a second grader worried about getting Covid-19, telling her that young children are the "safest group of people in the whole world."

"Don't be scared, honey. Don't be scared. You're going to be fine, and we're going to make sure mommy's fine, too," he said.

Jessica Salas, a graphic designer from Milwaukee, told Biden that her two young children often ask her about whether they will get Covid-19 and die. She stood next to her 8-year-old daughter as she spoke about how the pandemic is especially frightening for children who don't fully understand what is happening.

"Kids don't get Covid very often. It's unusual for that to happen. They don't -- the evidence so far is children aren't the people most likely to get Covid," Biden said.

Salas said her children would like to know when they will be able to get the vaccine, but Biden said, "We haven't even done tests yet on children as to whether or not the certain vaccines would work or not work or what is needed."

Though fewer children experience severe illness from the virus than adults, one question that has loomed large, especially for those grappling with decisions about reopening schools and day cares, is exactly what role children play in the transmission of the virus.

The President had said earlier in the evening that "there are certain things that make it rational and easy to go back to the brick-and-mortar building," before pointing to the administration's guidance on smaller classroom pods and an accelerated timeline for K-8 schooling compared to high school and college.

Additionally, Biden said, "I think that we should be vaccinating teachers. We should move them up in the hierarchy as well."

At least 28 states and Washington, DC, have started allowing all or some teachers and school staff to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Though some states have announced they are prioritizing teachers, vaccine availability remains a concern across the country.

There are 22 states where teachers are still not eligible to receive the vaccine as a specific group -- although some educators might fall into the current age group that state is vaccinating.

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