Health officials offer advice on protecting kids from delta variant surge

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 12:55 PM MDT
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(CNN) - There’s no clear evidence that the delta variant is causing more severe disease in children, according to a top U.S. health official.

However, Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s putting more kids in the hospital through “sheer infection numbers.”

So what activities should your family avoid to lower the risk of your young child contracting COVID-19?

The delta variant continues to quickly spread across the U.S., but right now the youngest Americans can’t get the best protection there is: a vaccine.

“The only thing we know for sure is that more infections mean more children will be in the hospital,” Fauci said.

For those under the age of 12 not yet eligible for vaccination, top U.S. health officials continue to say masking and physical distancing are key.

What you do beyond that depends on your child’s risk factors.

“I would probably not have one of my kids who are too young to be vaccinated go to one of those big sleepovers where you have multiple, five, six kids,” said Dr. F. Perry Wilson with the Yale School of Medicine.

Wilson said a one-on-one slumber party may be more manageable, with just two households mixing.

The biggest COVID risk for kids under 12 is the same as it is for unvaccinated adults.

“Those are indoor, crowded activities where people aren’t wearing masks,” Wilson said.

Wilson said outdoor activities are relatively safe, but indoor preparations to play outside can still pose a risk.

“If you’re packing indoors because you want that air conditioning or when the weather gets colder, you’re packing indoors to get that heat, that’s when the risk of transmission is going to be high,” he said.

If you feel any COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, Wilson said it’s best to get tested.

“Especially if you’re living with unvaccinated people, because you’ll be fine, but you might be putting them at risk,” he said.

Being vaccinated makes you are less likely to have the severe symptoms of COVID-19, so Wilson said vaccinated people should pay attention to even mild symptoms, like a cough, and get tested.

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