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The most common coronavirus variant in the US is estimated to be twice as infectious as the original, and can spread quickly amongst children. Anecdotal reports suggest young people are increasingly filling up US hospitals — but experts tell Insider that the variant, called B.1.1.7, isn’t affecting kids any worse than adults.

The variant became the most common strain of the virus in the US on April 7. In Michigan, the state with the most B.1.1.7 cases, hospitalization rates were higher for kids in recent weeks, “therefore they must be sicker,” Rudolph Valentini, chief medical officer for Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, told Bloomberg on Monday.  

“Until now we haven’t seen transmission like this in kids in the pandemic,” Michael Osterholm, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Minnesota and former advisor to President Joe Biden, told Meet the Press early April. “This B.1.1.7 variant infects kids very readily,” he said.

Higher numbers of kids in hospital doesn’t necessarily mean the variant affects kids differently. Younger people, especially those under 16, are the least likely to be vaccinated. So while many adults are protected from COVID-19, including the variant, kids aren’t, and some are ending up in hospital.

And many experts — including from the UK, where the variant was first detected in December — aren’t convinced it is more infectious for children than adults, and say the variant doesn’t appear to make kids sicker, either. 

No evidence variant is not more infectious in kids than adults: Experts

There’s no evidence that B.1.1.7, the name of the variant, is more infectious in children than adults, Damian Roland, honorary associate professor in pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Leicester, told Insider. 

“Denmark has kept schools open for young kids (even without masks) and hasn’t …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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