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Concerns about delta variant grow as new school year draws closer

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 12:12 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Concerns about the new delta variant of COVID-19 are mounting across the country.

Health leaders say vaccines are proving effective in combating the virus, but the shots still haven’t been approved for kids 12 and younger.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday morning that the delta variant was about 20% of the COVID-19 cases in the US and it doubles every two weeks.

With it being more transmissible, should parents be worried about kids who haven’t been vaccinated, and should they take any extra steps?

During a Wednesday morning interview, Dr. Fauci said the current COVID-19 vaccines appear to be working when it comes to stopping the spread of that variant.

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Dr. Katrina Hood, a Lexington pediatrician, told us, while it may be more transmissible, it still spreads through the same means. And the best thing parents can do is continue to encourage hand washing and other steps.

“I think it’s the same precautions,” Dr. Hood said. “We’re still trying to understand a lot more about that strain but at this point, the same precautions are what are indicated.”

As summer activities continue to pick up, the good news is the transmission of the virus outside is massively reduced.

“The general rule is that outdoors were so much safer than indoors as far as transmission and pretty much everything, including coronavirus. So, the outdoors, if you were spaced out, you’re running, you’re playing, you were in the pool,” Dr. Hood said. “I’m so happy that our kids and everybody can get back to these things compared to last summer.”

Dr. Hood said it’s really going to be up to each family how to handle unvaccinated children, especially considering who else in the family may be unvaccinated.

She told us they’ve seen an uptick in stomach illnesses and colds as people started to gather again. So, parents should be doing their best to stop the spread of several diseases.

“We understand so much about handwashing, so even if you are at the baseball park, even if you are playing soccer. You’re doing football camps and outdoors the handwashing and sanitizing really are so important,” Dr. Hood said.

Experts hope a vaccine will be approved for kids by the time they go back to school in the fall.

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