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VERIFY: No, the delta variant does not have more dangerous symptoms for children

With hospitals reporting a significant increase in child hospitalizations due to COVID-19, some are claiming that the delta variant causes more severe disease.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Kids and COVID are top of mind as schools begin reopening and the delta variant continues to surge.

With hospitals reporting a significant increase in child hospitalizations due to COVID-19, some are claiming that the delta variant causes more severe disease in children than other variants.

After hearing of these claims, First Coast News is here to verify fact from fiction.

THE CLAIM

The delta variant causes more severe symptoms in children than other variants do.

SOURCES

  • UF Health
  • Wolfson Children’s Hospital 
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics

WHAT WE FOUND

Here in Jacksonville Wolfson Children’s Hospital says its original peak in child hospitalizations was in January, with 58 patients. Those numbers gradually dropped months later.

However, since the delta variant arrived, the hospital reported 96 hospitalizations for the month of July.

Infectious disease pediatrician Dr. Mobeen Rathore says the delta variant is four to five times more contagious than previous strains.

"It is easier for it to spread, and that’s probably the reason we are seeing a lot more infections," Rathore said.

RELATED: How to spot the difference between COVID-19 and RSV in children

Rathore says the increase in child hospitalizations is a reflection of the sharp increase in total cases, which makes hospitalization more likely

"We don’t believe it is more virulent, meaning it doesn’t cause worse infection or disease, but it can certainly spread much faster," Rathore said.

For this reason, we are going to verify this as false—there isn’t any evidence yet that the strain presents worse symptoms.

But, Rathore does caution that although most kids will recover that doesn’t mean they won’t have long-term effects from the virus.

The best way to protect your kids is by getting the vaccine if they are eligible or wearing a mask in public.