BACK TO SCHOOL: Pittsburgh doctor weighs in on children and the delta variant

PITTSBURGH — Just weeks from kids heading back to school, COVID-19 cases are rising from the highly contagious delta variant, even among children and it’s leaving families with a whole lot of uncertainty.

Doctor John Williams studies infectious diseases in children and says the trends he’s seeing are troublesome.

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“Locally we’re seeing an uptick in the number of kids with COVID and the number of kids hospitalized,” Dr. Williams explained.

While the cases among children locally are still relatively low, Dr. Williams fears that will change.

“As the county goes up for all cases and for adult cases, we worry the pediatric numbers will increase.”

Dr. Williams tells Channel 11 his colleagues around the country are seeing some really sick kids in hospitals. He wants parents to know kids aren’t immune.

So what can parents do?

Dr. Williams says adults need to get vaccinated to prevent the spread and if their children are over 12, get them vaccinated too.

If kids are too young, he recommends masking up, especially in crowded indoor spaces like schools. This is something that’s recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics despite individual districts having the choice.

“A similar number of children have died from COVID in the US as the number who die of car crashes. Wouldn’t stop seat belts, why stop masks,” Dr. Williams said. “I don’t want to wait until things get really bad to do something.”

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Dr. Williams says there is hope for children under 12, an approval for emergency vaccine authorization is expected some time this fall.