Health experts: Unvaccinated remain at high risk as Delta variant cases quickly spread nationwide

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Health officials warn that areas with low vaccination rates could see another surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths as the Delta variant continues to spread. Doctors say the variant, so far, is the most contagious COVID-19 strain and cases have doubled nationwide in just the last two weeks.

In Kansas, about 60 percent of the population is not vaccinated. A big chunk of that total is children and young adults. While COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain low in Wichita, the rapidly spreading Delta variant threatens more than half of the population. A majority of Kansas’ confirmed Delta variant cases are in Sedgwick County. The good news, doctors say, is that vaccines prove effective against it.

Currently in Kansas, only six percent of children and teens have been vaccinated against the virus, partially because those younger than 12 aren’t yet able to get the vaccine. While children and young adults are less likely to develop severe illness from COVID-19, it can happen and they can also spread it to unvaccinated adults.

“The concerns are those kids in school that can get the vaccine that have not gotten it or their parents haven’t, could bring it into schools and spread it,” Byrne said.

The return to school draws closer as the Delta variant multiplies.

“Knowing around that time is when the Delta variant is most prevalent in our community, there’s a chance we could have a lot of kids getting sick at once,” Ascension Via Christi Pediatrician Dr. Amy Seery said. “There’s a good chance we could have enough children sick at the same time that it could overwhelm our health structures here in Wichita.”

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