TAMPA, Fla. — As COVID cases continue to climb due to the Delta variant, doctors say the state of Florida has the fastest growing rate across the country.

Since children represent the largest group of unvaccinated people, we checked in to see what this means for pediatric patients.

What You Need To Know

  • COVID-19 cases are on the rise as the Delta variant makes its way through the U.S.

  • Dr. Christina Canody says pediatric hospitalizations are coming back after basically stopping in June

  • Canody says she advises parents to remain diligent and recommends masks for those who are unvaccinated

“We’ll do our precautions at home and just go from there. They have to go back to school at some point,” said Sayina Nakirayi.

Sayına Nakirayi has two sons, ages two and three. They’re too young to get the COVID vaccine and they’re at an age where masks don’t stay on very long.

“I hear about the Delta, but people have been vaccinated, people have been wearing masks and I trust the school that I'm taking them to that they’re doing the best they can as far as precautions,” she said.

There doesn’t seem to be much else that parents with little kids can do.

“The longer we see numbers escalate the more likely we are to have more variants emerge and those variants are the most aggressive forms of the virus. They are smart,” said Dr. Christina Canody.

Dr. Christina Canody is BayCare Pediatrics Service Line's Medical Director.

She says pediatric hospitalizations from COVID basically stopped in June, but are now coming back.

“The Delta variant has essentially doubled every week for the last month to now becoming the dominant variant, which is well above 80% of the cases,” Dr. Canody said. 

She says in Florida about one in three children ages 12 and up have gotten the vaccine, but the strength of the Delta variant is becoming more obvious.

“We’re seeing that reservoir of illness pass through a lot of children and we’re seeing a lot of kids affected even in parents that are vaccinated, are getting mild or A-symptomatic illness,” she said.

Even with the effectiveness of the vaccines, Dr. Canody says to think of it like Influenza A and B.

“There’s still about 40% of the population who are going to get symptomatic illness, it’s just not going to be as severe,” she said.

So how concerned should parents be and what can be done right now?

“I think parents should continue their diligence and for unvaccinated children and parents with unvaccinated children, I’ve never discontinued recommending masks. For those who do not have the vaccine, they’re still at significant risk,” she said.