COVID variants targeting younger people

Coronavirus Local Impact

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – COVID-19 cases continue to come down here in western Massachusetts and across the nation, but the virus continues to spread in other parts of the world.

Just because cases are down in the United States doesn’t mean that’s the case everywhere. Other countries are seeing variants emerge and that’s causing mutations of the virus to spread.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States declined this past week with experts expressing some optimism along with concerns over falling vaccination numbers. The B.1.617 variant is widely blamed for India’s second wave of infections.

That variant is spreading to other parts of the world, including the United States. Iowa has confirmed two cases that COVID-19 variant. Massachusetts has also detected different strains of the virus in recent weeks and our local health experts say it’s something to keep an eye on.

“It’s a big concern and I think the U.S. and many other countries need to step up and support other countries with suppressing the virus with vaccinations campaigns.”

The new variants are spreading as kids ages 12 to 15 could be getting vaccinated in less than two weeks. The FDA will likely authorize Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for children by early next week.

The Chief General for pediatrics at Baystate Medical Center, John O’Reilly says the variants are targeting younger people, especially our children.

“The variants that are out there like the B.1.1.7 are really striking kids. The initial COVID wave really missed a lot of kids, they weren’t sick. The variants are more contagious and probably more detrimental to our kids.” Dr. O’Reilly

O’Reilly says that once a vaccine is available for kids, he recommends they get it.

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