White House COVID response team stops in Columbus

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As cases spike because of the Delta variant, members of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 response team stopped by Columbus today to discuss ways to get more people in the Fountain City vaccinated.

Their visit to Columbus is a part of the Biden Administration’s week-long Community Confidence visits in cities across the South.

“In this pandemic especially with this Delta variant, you have to do everything you can to stay safe and to stay protected,” said White House Senior Policy Advisor for COVID-19 Equity Dr. Cameron Webb.

With only 35% of Muscogee County residents fully vaccinated, officials from the White House’s COVID-19 response team held a round table discussion to determine ways to increase the county’s vaccination rates. City councilors, police and congressman were all at this event learning how to help the community. During the discussion, Dr. Webb, who’s also an internal medicine doctor and lawyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, talked about how COVID-19 effects children.

“We know that five percent of kids end up with long symptoms from COVID,” said Dr. Webb.

With some parents across the country against school mask mandates, Dr. Webb says requiring masks for school children is one safety measure that helps them stay in school.

“If the virus continues to spread, in the school, we’re going to have to close it down. We’re going to have to have kids go home,” said Dr. Webb.

Another issue discussed was youth violence here in Columbus.

“Just over the last two we’ve had five incidents with a two year old all the way through 16 and some just -- you know -- were shot,” said District 4 Councilwoman Toyia Tucker.

While some residents say the city’s increased crime is getting out of hand, some elected officials are confident that after today’s round table discussionhere are ways to prevent it from continuing.

“It’s really a traumatic experience because all we’re seeing is crime, crime crime and we’re not seeing the solutions. However, this right here today was the first step,” said Tucker.

One solution suggested by several residents here in Columbus is having more events for the youth to the attend. One free event being held on the 18th here at the Civic Center from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. is the Tri City Latino Festival.

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