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Children appear to be more vulnerable to delta variant

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 11:40 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - One of the biggest concerns with the delta variant is it appears to be targeting children more than the other strains of COVID-19.

The timing couldn’t be worse as schools around the country begin to get back in session.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, COVID-19 cases involving kids jumped 86-percent in one week. In the last week of July, the Academy said kids made up 19 percent of overall cases in the country.

Baptist Health pediatrician Dr. Jai Gilliam said these numbers are cause for concern.

“Kids have died of COVID-19, he said. “In general, most children will do well with this coronavirus, but what we are seeing is that early on in the beginning, kids weren’t affected as much as we thought they were.”

Governor Andy Beshear said the national report mirrored what’s happening in Kentucky, during his Team Kentucky press conference Thursday. He said in June, 534 cases of COVID-19 were reported in children 11 and younger. In July, that number jumped to 2,092 cases, according to Beshear.

“Almost four times more cases in kids in July than in June and I think all of the healthcare executives would say that pace is even increasing every day,” Gov. Beshear said.

Dr. Gilliam said the delta variant is far more contagious. He said kids are getting sicker, and more quickly than before.

“People always ask me, ‘How do we protect the kids?’ Well, we protect the kids by getting the vaccine,” he said.

Dr. Gilliam said, in general, most kids will be able to tolerate the virus, but the delta variant is changing that.

“Turns out, kids are actually getting sick and dying from it,” Dr. Gilliam said. “So, one death is too much. If it’s your child, it’s definitely going to hit home. So, kids can get sick from coronavirus and kids can die from this. So, we wanna treat this virus with respect.”

Dr. Gilliam said families should review COVID-19 protocols in their school. He said wearing a mask is the best way to protect kids who are vulnerable.

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