I have two kids ages 8 and 5 who, after a dismal 2020, were thrilled to start having playdates again this summer. My husband and I are both vaccinated but now with the Delta variant on the rise, we’re questioning whether or not we should continue to allow them to have their friends over. What should we do?
For a hot minute there, it seemed like there was some light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. Cases were declining overall as vaccine uptake increased, restrictions were being lifted and people were starting to resume their normal activities. But then, Delta entered the chat. As we learn more about this highly transmissible variant, more children are testing positive, so it is crucial to continue mitigation processes to control spread and decrease the risk of exposure, particularly when it comes to those who are unvaccinated. And right now, that vulnerable population is children under the age of 12.
A question I’ve been getting a lot lately is, “how is the Delta variant different when it comes to kids?” The short answer is that while the Delta variant is unfortunately more transmissible for everyone—including children—at this point it does not appear to be causing more severe disease. That being said, with more people traveling and gathering, and more kids back to sports and other activities, the virus is infecting that vulnerable population: our kids. According to recent reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics, there were over 100,000 new cases in children under the age of 12 during one week in mid-August.
With all that in mind, we need to be really careful when it comes to playdates and unvaccinated children. As frustrating as it is, we need to continue practicing the known safety measures in order to mitigate spread and decrease the likelihood that more concerning variants will emerge.