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Lexington pediatrician concerned about continued rise of COVID-19 cases in children

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 3:52 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - In his Monday briefing, Governor Andy Beshear reported last week was the highest ever for COVID cases in Kentucky.

Unlike earlier in the pandemic, it’s our younger age groups with the highest incidence rates.

“If you are ages 10 to 19 right now, you are getting COVID at a much higher rate than any other part of our population,” the Governor said. “These are our school-aged children.”

Between August 1 and 30, cases increased by over 40% percent in kids 0 to 9 years old. It’s the highest incidence rate out of any age group and is made up of people too young to get the vaccine. Of the over 26,00 new cases reported Monday, 752 of them were in kids 18 or younger.

Baptist Health pediatrician Dr. Jai Gilliam said he’s seeing more positive cases in his patients compared to any time in the pandemic. He said some parents share their entire households are getting infected.

“It’s the virus strain which is more transmittable,” Dr. Gilliam said. “But also this is the pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

According to Gilliam, the fewer people vaccinated the more the virus could spread, and the more it could mutate. The doctor said it’s not kids giving the virus to each other, rather adults around them spreading it.

“Nobody should be dying of COVID right now,” Dr. Gilliam said. “If you’re unvaccinated during this pandemic time you’re the one that puts yourself at risk, you’re also the one that’s putting others at risk, so you’re the primary problem and solution all in one.”

Looking ahead, Dr. Gilliam said it’s possible younger populations could become vaccine eligible in the future, but data is still being collected.

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