The delta variant and kids: Parents’ questions answered

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This article was updated Aug. 3.

For a brief moment, it felt like we parents had made it. School was wrapping up. People, including our kids 12 and older, were getting vaccinated. Mask mandates were easing.

But now we’re facing the delta variant — a highly contagious strain of the coronavirus. States with large outbreaks are seeing rising case numbers among children as well as adults. As it reaches into our communities, how does this strain affect children, and how can we help them safely navigate their days?

We spoke with infectious-disease specialists about how to handle this widespread variant. Here are their answers to our questions.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

New covid variant: The XBB.1.5 variant is a highly transmissible descendant of omicron that is now estimated to cause about half of new infections in the country. We answered some frequently asked questions about the bivalent booster shots.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

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