(WYTV) – Cases of COVID-19 in children continue to increase. Doctors say protecting kids from getting the virus can help everyone in the long run. It could actually stop new variants from forming while also keeping those who still can’t get vaccinated safe.
“The spread in the community has certainly increased from where it was six to eight weeks ago,” said Dr. Jim Kravec, chief clinical officer for Mercy Health Youngstown.
Mercy Health is seeing it too, especially at their walk-in clinics with adults and children of all ages.
“Really, with upper respiratory illnesses, viral illnesses and just making sure that they don’t have COVID or that they do,” Dr. Kravec said.
Parents have a reason to be concerned — after months of declining cases, the virus is finding the unvaccinated.
“For most children it is minor, that’s the good news. But there is no vaccine available for those 12 and under so we always have to encourage hand hygiene, staying home when you’re sick. But the good news is, in kids, is that the illness tends to be minor,” Dr. Kravec said.
Dr. Kravec says there’s one way adults can help stop the spread.
“That’s to get vaccinated. That is the way that will stop the spread and stop the impact of a severe case,” he said.
Doctors are also now looking into the long-term effects COVID-19 can have on children, but there are still so many unknowns.
“Long-hauler symptoms in adults is fairly well documented now. Many of us in the Valley have seen people who have it and with kids, it’s still something new. There’s not a ton of information on it yet, not enough history on the children. So I think it’s something we’ll keep our eyes on and learn more about it as we go,” Dr. Kravec said.
More kids are being hospitalized with COVID-19. Health experts say that shows just how seriously the delta variant can hit any age group.
“The spread is very easy, very contagious and people are interacting and so that will spread it much quicker and half of the population isn’t vaccinated so I truly believe that’s why there’s increased spread,” Dr. Kravec said.