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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – One of the biggest concerns with the delta variant is it appears to be targeting children more than the other strains of COVID-19.

The timing couldn’t be worse as schools around the country begin to get back in session.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, COVID-19 cases involving kids jumped 86% during the last week of July. In the last week of July, the academy says kids made up 19 percent of overall cases in the country.

Baptist Health pediatrician Dr. Jai Gilliam says these numbers are cause for concern. He says the delta variant is far more contagious. Dr. Gilliam says kids are getting sicker, and more quickly than before.

He says, in general, most kids will be able to tolerate the virus, but the delta variant is changing that.

“Turns out, kids are actually getting sick and dying from it,” Dr. Gilliam said. “So, one death is too much. If it’s your child, it’s definitely going to hit home. So, kids can get sick from coronavirus and kids can die from this. So, we wanna treat this virus with respect.”

Dr. Gilliam says families should review COVID-19 protocols in their school. He says wearing a mask is the best way to protect kids who are vulnerable.