Now, in all 50 states, there is a highly contagious COVID-19 strain B.1.1.7, and data shows that its impact on children may exceed people’s imagination.
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, recently told reporters Boston 25 News B.1.1.7 made him reconsider the position of reopening the school for face-to-face learning. He said: “In terms of epidemiology, this is a completely different virus.” “I think the opening of schools today will greatly promote the spread of B.1.1.7 in our community, and I predict that, unfortunately, We will revisit this issue in a few weeks after we have spread it in large numbers.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists B.1.1.7 as a “variable of concern”, which means that researchers are paying close attention to it. This variant seems to spread quickly and may lead to a greater risk of death than previous variants.
According to CDC data, B.1.1.7 is now the most widely spread variant in the United States, accounting for 32% of cases in the country.
Other data indicate that this variant is more likely to infect children.A report was published in British Medical Journal It was found that more than 50,000 Israeli children tested positive for the virus in January, which is more than any month during the first and second waves of the country. In Italy, on February 3, 10% of people in the village of Corzano tested positive for COVID-19, of which 60% were infants and elementary school students, who then spread the virus to adults.
Research articles published in journals science It was also found that children are more likely to be infected with B.1.1.7 than other variants of concern.
but … What does this mean for American children?
Dr. Juan Salazar, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist and Chief Physician at the Connecticut Children’s Hospital, told Yahoo Life that it’s hard to be sure. He said: “B.1.1.7 is more contagious. Recently, the connection between children has been greater than it was six months a year ago.” “Therefore, there is a greater risk of transmission. “
In Michigan, where the number of cases has soared-including cases caused by B.1.1.7-last week, the number of COVID-19 cases among children aged 10 to 19 in the state increased by 133% compared to the previous four weeks. Detroit News.
Dr. Lewis Nelson, professor of emergency medicine and director of the emergency department at Rutgers New Jersey School of Medicine and director of emergency services at the university, said: “There are signs that children may be more likely to spread the British COVID variant than the original strain.” The hospital told Yahoo Life. “This means that if there is no proper preventive measures, they may take the mutant strain home or spread it to other people in other places. This is a problem that many people are particularly concerned about, because under the right circumstances, returning to the classroom and reducing Mutation is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of Social Alienation. Childhood disease still seems to be mild, but it is not a small risk without serious consequences.”
Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Health Safety Center and an infectious disease expert, told Yahoo Life that children are now more likely to get B.1.1.7 in the United States because this is the main virus in transmission. He said: “If the child is infected and B.1.1.7 is coming, then they will get B.1.1.7.”
However, Dr. Richard Watkins, an infectious disease doctor and professor of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University, told Yahoo Life that the way this strain of the virus affects children may be different. He said that the increase in B.1.1.7 cases in children may be related to the better combination of children’s lung epithelial cells with other strains. (Epithelial cells provide a protective barrier in the lungs and help initiate the immune response to viruses and other diseases.)
As for whether B.1.1.7 is more dangerous to children, it is currently difficult to determine, Dr. Daniel Ganjian, a pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, told Yahoo Life. He said: “Children may get B.1.1.7, but that doesn’t mean they will get sick because of it.” Salazar agreed. However, he pointed out: “When more children are infected, the greater risk is that more children may be sent to the hospital.”
However, Salazar added that because his medical center suffered from B.1.1.7, he had not seen severe acute attacks in children. He said: “Since the pandemic began, this virus has affected children, but because of B.1.1.7, I have not seen an increase in the number of children passing through the ICU.”
As for Nelson, he believes that B.1.1.7 may be “easier to spread. Until now, children have always been hosts with a relatively high degree of protection, so they can act as bigger children.”
In general, experts urge parents to be diligent in protecting their children. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a press conference on Monday that young people have contributed to COVID-19 cases across the country due to school reopening and youth movements. She said: “We have learned that many outbreaks of young people are related to youth sports and extracurricular activities. According to the guidance of the CDC, these activities should be restricted.”
Adalia said: “We are worried that things related to extracurricular activities will break out in the school. We must be more cautious in terms of extracurricular activities.”
Watkins urged parents to continue to follow good COVID-19 safety procedures for themselves and their families, such as wearing masks, social distancing and careful hand hygiene. He said: “With the popularity of vaccines, it is easy for us to relax our vigilance, but obviously, children cannot be vaccinated now.”
Salazar agrees that it is very important for families to continue their efforts to prevent COVID-19. He said: “If we can do this and continue to vaccinate, I hope our summer will be quieter.”
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