As Delta variant spreads, virus surges with children in low-immunization areas

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 2:38 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:24 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Everyone over the age of 2 should wear masks while in school during the upcoming academic year, according to updated recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The association said it “strongly recommends” in-person learning and urges everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they are eligible. That message being echoed by local doctors as the Delta variant continues to take hold across the country.

The CDC announced this month the Delta variant is now the dominant coronavirus strain across the country. There is increased concern for young, unvaccinated people, who are being hospitalized across the country and here at home.

Kids under 12 do not have access to the COVID vaccine yet.

“What we know is if we look at kids who are at least 12 years of age, less than half of kids eligible have actually received the vaccine,” Dr. Kristina Bryant, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Norton Children’s/UofL said.

Bryant says in the early part of summer, there were several weeks at Norton Children’s Hospital where there were no kids in the hospital for COVID. Now, that’s changed.

“We are seeing a small uptick in cases here locally,” Bryant said.

Bryant said recently there are two to three kids a day hospitalized for COVID.

“Fortunately, most of them have had pretty mild illness, but we have had kids who needed to be in the ICU,” Bryant said.

What we know about the delta variant is that it’s more transmissible in people of all ages, including kids. And the virus seems to be surging in part of the country where immunization rates are low.

Overall testing is down. In March and April, Norton was administering about 700 tests a day. In June and July, it dropped to 400 tests a day with a positively rate around 13 percent.

Doctors say people are getting confused with their symptoms. Many assume what they are feeling are allergies but, it could be covid. It’s important to get tested if you are having symptoms.

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