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(WHNT) — The Medical Association of the State of Alabama held a public Zoom call Thursday for parents to submit questions to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and UAB.

On the call, doctors underscored their recommendation that schools start the year with masks.

“We’ve actually had well over 1,000 cases a day for the past 8-9 days, in fact greater than 2,500 for the past three days,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

UAB infectious disease specialist Dr. David Kimberlin stated he was “scared right now for what lies ahead of us with respect for our children.”

Dr. Kimberlin lost his father to COVID-19 and said he has had to notify parents of teenagers that their child lost their battle with COVID-19.

Kimberlin said masks are a tool in the tool belt to keep kids in the classroom and other people in the community out of the hospital.

“We need our children and our teenagers in school,” said Kimberlin. “In person, in school.”

Dr. Harris, who admits that Alabamians don’t trust him or other state officials, said the last he heard, roughly 40 pediatric patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, but numbers are voluntarily reported. Some children’s hospitals like Arkansas Children’s are seeing much worse case loads.

“They’re inundated,” said Dr. Kimberlin. “They have many more patients right now than they had in the peak of winter.”

ADPH said students older than 12 who get the Pfizer vaccine can greatly reduce the spread of COVID-19 when students come and go from school.

Dr. Kimberlin stated misinformation and anger towards school leaders are not helping schools make masking decisions. He asked people that care to fight back with kindness.

“They’re out there and they’re oud and they’re mad,” said Kimberlin. “The superintendent and the principal and the teachers, they hear the loud mad voices. We need to present loving, concerned voices.