Health officials in the United States have expressed concern about how children experience symptoms of delta variants and respiratory syncytial virus, a respiratory disease more commonly seen in winter, according to The New York Times.
And it appears that the symptoms of the delta variant may be more dangerous for children compared to previous mutations of the coronavirus.
Does the delta variant hurt in children? Is it more serious?
Kent Sepkowitz, a physician and infection control expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, wrote for CNN that the biggest problem with the delta variant is how it affects children.
He said there is new evidence that “children infected with the delta variant may develop a more severe form of the disease compared to illness caused by other forms of the virus.” Reasons for this include “higher viral loads, something different in the way the virus is handled by less mature immune systems, or something else,” he wrote.
Sepkowitz isn’t the only expert to suggest this idea. dr. Rick Barr, one of the leaders of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, told NPR that the delta variant has a different effect on children than other viruses.
“Delta variant behaves very, very differently with regard to children…just in the month of July we have (admitted) over 40 in the children’s hospital…and a number of them have ended up in intensive care,” he told NPR.
Should parents be concerned about the delta variant?
Parents have also started asking questions about their children returning to school in the fall, especially since children under 12 have not yet been vaccinated, according to The Los Angeles Times.
“Parents should make sure that they do everything they can to keep their children safe if they have an unvaccinated child in their family,” Dr. Katherine Williamson, a pediatrician in Orange County, told The Los Angeles Times.
But, Williamson said, young people can remain protected if appropriate school guidelines are in place and if vaccination options are available.