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Tennessee doctor says the Delta strain could impact more children under 12

Experts say the delta variant is more contagious than other strains.
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 7:58 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Tennessee has seen the biggest jump in COVID cases, than any other state. This is in part due to the new Delta variant of the virus, which Dr. William Schaffner with Vanderbilt University Medical Center says is more contagious than the initial virus we saw in 2020.

According to Dr. Schaffner, the Delta variant could be more prone to targeting children, because many older adults have gotten the vaccine. He says this variant will infect whoever is the most susceptible and if older people have gotten vaccinated, then it will come for those who are unvaccinated. This leaves the age group of 11 and under at risk because they are not in phase to get the vaccine.

Schaffner says trials are ongoing about the safety and efficiency of a COVID vaccine for someone younger than 12, but results likely won’t be available until at least the fall of 2021. His recommendation for those who are in that age group are to wear a mask to prevent this especially contagious variant from infecting you.

While some see this new variant as a heightened risk for people under 12, in the East Tennessee facilities they haven’t seen an increase in numbers.

Medical Director Joe Childs at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, says they have not seen a single patient under 12 to get seriously sick from COVID. Childs says right now they only have one patient battling COVID, and for the last few months they’ve either had one or zero people admitted for COVID.

To date, five children under the age of 10 have died form COVID in Tennessee, which is less than one percent of overall deaths attributed to COVID statewide.

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