COVID-19 and Ataxia-Telangiectasia: Part 4

On August 12, 2021, the A-T Children’s Project hosted a special webinar on COVID-19 and Ataxia-Telangiectasia – a conversation with:

  • Howard Lederman, MD, PhD – Pediatric Immunologist and Director of the A-T Clinical Center at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center
  • Jennifer Thornton – Executive Director of the A-T Children’s Project

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During the webinar, Dr. Lederman promised to give us more information on how to interpret community transmission rates when making decisions about school attendance and socializing.

From Dr. Lederman:

CDC definitions:

  • “Low” transmission is considered no more than 10 cases per 100,000 people, or a test positivity rate of less than 5%.
  • “Moderate” transmission is 10 to 50 cases per 100,000 people, or a positivity rate between 5% and 8%.
  • “Substantial” transmission is 50 to 100 cases per 100,000, or a positivity rate between 8% and 10%.
  • “High” transmission is 100 or more cases per 100,000 people or a positivity rate of 10% or higher.

There are risks and benefits to sending children to school, and there are risks and benefits to keeping them at home. My viewpoint is that most children under the age of 12, especially those with disabilities, will do better in school than at home.  With that in mind…..

  • I would be worried about sending an otherwise healthy person with A-T to school if transmission was high in the community, probably regardless of masking and social distancing.
  • I would not be worried about sending an otherwise healthy person with A-T to school if transmission was low, probably regardless of masking and social distancing.
  • Decisions for communities with moderate to substantial transmission would depend on the age and health of the person with A-T, the ability of that patient to function from home with virtual learning, and the school policies about masking and social distancing.

*This information is being provided for informational purposes only and isn’t intended to provide any specific advice and isn’t to be relied upon. Any actions or decisions should be based on independent research and professional advice.