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What you need to know Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021

Thanks for waking up with 10 Tampa Bay Brightside!

TAMPA, Fla. — Good morning, Tampa Bay! Start your Tuesday here with some things you need to know before starting your day. 

Doctors urge parents to pack the mask as kids go back to school

Local Tampa Bay area doctors agree that having kids in classrooms is essential but they're worried about their safety in regard to the COVID-19 delta variant.

Dr. Lisa Cronin, a pediatrician at the Children's Medical Center, says there has been a significant increase of children with COVID-19 symptoms in her office. 

That's why she signed a letter, along with more than 200 other local doctors, asking school districts to encourage masks in classrooms.

Throughout the pandemic, we've heard that COVID-19 doesn't affect children as much as older people, but the delta variant is changing what we know about the virus.

RELATED: As Tampa Bay area kids ready for new school year, doctors encourage masks worn in classrooms

Future of COVID in the Tampa Bay area

Scientists and data modelers tracking coronavirus cases predict between 4,300 and 6,000 COVID-19 cases per day in the Tampa Bay area by the end of August, beginning of September if face masks and social distancing measures are not implemented to control the surge.

"That'll stop the spread in its tracks,” said Dr. Edwin Michael, an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida, who studies global infectious diseases.

Dr. Michael cited three reasons for the drastic spike in cases that are only forecasted to grow over the next month. He said a drop in vaccinations, a decline in social measures like masks and social distancing along with the delta variant are causing cases to soar.

According to Dr. Michael, while vaccinations do need to increase to achieve herd immunity, increasing vaccinations now will not stop the coming wave.

RELATED: ‘We could see as many as 6,000 cases a day’: Scientists chart future of COVID in Tampa Bay area

The G.O.A.T. turns 44 🎂

Seven-time Super Bowl champion and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is turning 44 today.

How exactly the reigning Super Bowl MVP will be spending his birthday isn't known, but Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said his gift to the quarterback is "a day off."

"It's amazing the fire that burns in him that makes him do this," Arians told reporters Monday. "There's nobody out there competing any harder than him. Yeah, it's awesome. We'll throw him a bone and give him a day off."

While Brady may have the day off, one might wonder if the competitor in him will allow him to take the day for himself.

RELATED: Coach Arians gifts Tom Brady 'a day off' for his birthday