As COVID-19 numbers in children rise, some concerned as start to school nears


TOPEKA, Kan. — The latest numbers from the American Academy of Pediatrics show coronavirus cases in children are up 84 percent compared to the previous week. That’s 71,000 kids testing positive.

Twelve point eight percent of the 339,000 coronavirus cases in Kansas since the start of the pandemic have been children. Though hospitalizations and deaths are low for children, Kansas health experts are concerned the Delta variant could be harmful to them.

“Kids under the age of 12 can’t get vaccinated, so they’re in a vulnerable position and they’re relying on the adults around them to be doing the reasonable thing,” said Marci Nielsen, chief advisor for COVID-19 coordination for Kansas.

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Even if kids don’t get severely sick they’re able to spread the virus to someone else that could.

With schools starting up Nielsen said if you have a 12 to 17-year-old, it’s important to have a conversation now about getting a vaccine. She said it’s not too late to start getting protection from the shot even as classrooms start to fill up.

“Getting vaccinated if you’re not vaccinated today, even if it doesn’t protect as you’re walking into school tomorrow, it’s the most important thing that you can do,” Nielsen said.

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In addition to vaccinations, Nielsen said mask wearing and increased testing will be a big part of keeping the spread down in schools.

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