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As COVID deaths trickle down, doctors seeing uptick in children contracting virus

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 8:36 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As the country begins to turn the corner on the pandemic with fewer COVID deaths and cases in adults, the United States is seeing a rise in cases among children.

“It is the same virus we have been dealing with all along, but it changes in behaviors,” pediatrician John Gaudet said.

As COVID cases and deaths decrease and the United States begins to reopen and rollback restrictions, health officials say they are pleased to see more people rolling up their selves to get vaccinated.

Still, they are starting to see a disturbing trend: more children contracting COVID-19.

“Kids are, of course, still social animals getting together and doing things with each other. Of course, we are doing less, obviously, in the way of mitigation for the behaviors. Less masking, less staying apart, and those younger kids aren’t vaccinated.

“So, the CDC guidelines, which has been misinterpreted from time to time I think lately, really was to relax issues for people who are fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, an infectious disease specialist at Baptist Memorial Health Care.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children account for more than a fifth of new U.S. coronavirus cases in states that release statistics by age.

“Kids can get sick, kids can be hospitalized from COVID, and I don’t want to dwell on this, but I would be telling you the truth if I didn’t say this, kids can even die from COVID. It is fortunately rare, but it can happen,” said Gaudet.

These doctors say there are ways for kids to combat the virus. Right now, all teens 12 and older are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I would say that the biggest things you can do as a parent number one is to get yourself vaccinated because you would be the vehicle by which it gets to your kid in a lot of the circumstances,” he said. “So, get vaccinated yourself and also get your kids vaccinated if they are old enough to do so. If they are not, be careful about utilizing masks and social distancing when they’re in crowded indoor situations.”

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