By Adriana Belmonte

The number of COVID cases in the U.S. has now surpassed 37 million, with the Delta variant currently accounting for more than 98% of newly confirmed cases in the country.

Unlike during the first waves of the coronavirus pandemic, there are significantly more children being hospitalized for COVID-19 infections amid the latest surge.

“That really scares me,” Dr. James Simmons, an L.A.-based hospitalist nurse practitioner, said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “Kiddos who aren’t eligible for being vaccinated make up about 50 million people in the United States. While the narrative the first time around was kids are a little bit protected from this, we don’t exactly know why they’re not really big spreaders — that’s categorically different with Delta.”

Over 4.4 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with more than 121,000 cases in the week ending Aug. 12, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Cases in children have risen substantially since the beginning of July and now account for 18% of newly confirmed weekly cases, leading to more hospitalizations.

“There’s no doubt there are more children getting infected,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said during a recent press briefing. “The Delta variant is much more highly transmissible than was Alpha. Given that you will see more children likely to get infected — and even though the percentage is small, a certain percentage of children will require hospitalization. So quantitatively, you will see more children in the hospital regarding the severity of illness.”

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