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FACT FINDERS: Back-to-school amid spread of delta variant

Back-to-school time with the delta variant is cause for alarm for some local health...
Back-to-school time with the delta variant is cause for alarm for some local health professionals.
Published: Jul. 24, 2021 at 9:14 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Back-to-school time with the delta variant is cause for alarm for some local health professionals.

Last year, we were told the coronavirus was not as dangerous for most kids. However, now with the more contagious delta variant out there, that may not be the case.

“I would share some grave concerns about our school children,” said Dr. Sean Elliott with Tucson Medical Center.

He said this school year is off to a different start than last year and it’s because of delta.

“The delta variant may be more contagious and more virulent or more dangerous for younger ages,” he said.

He is particularly concerned about kids younger than 12.

“It stands to reason that children especially children who are not yet able to be vaccinated are the next victims in line.”

He is also concerned about local children’s hospitals and the rush they might see.

“Right now it’s manageable,” he said. “But, should these numbers continue to escalate as they are starting to in the adult population, then yes. We will see children’s health care being just as overwhelmed and overburdened and burnt out as we are absolutely seeing today with our adult health care providers.”

Beyond that, he believes supplies could become an issue just as they were with adults. However, this time there’s a new hurdle.

“Size matters,” he said. “And so, a breathing tube for a small child is going to be far smaller and produced in smaller numbers than it would be for a typical adult.”

Dr. Elliott urges anyone 12 and older to get vaccinated. As for those who are too young, he advises them to wear masks or consider at-home learning.

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