Colorado has been swamped with an increasing number of coronavirus cases due to the spread of more dangerous variants. Children constitute a major chunk of the new cases that have been spiked by the reopening of schools. State data suggests that children between the ages of 0-19 account for approximately 26.4% of all the cases reported in the last week of April.

Dr. Sean O’ Leary, who serves as a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has blamed the new variants along with the relaxed COVID-19 restrictions for the big numbers. Moreover, in an interview with ABC News, O Leary spoke of how children are not yet eligible to qualify for a dose of the vaccine. Consequently, the entire age group is prone to be infected with the virus in a time where new variants have started dominating the state.

With schools resuming in full swing, children have “been a little more out there” said O Leary. Apart from routine classes, schools have also orchestrated small events and sports activities that have ultimately increased the exposure of students to the virus. It is interesting to note that the group getting infected in schools has also changed. Teachers had previously accounted for a large number of coronavirus cases in the country. However, the scene has shifted and now, children have had to bear the brunt of the infectious variants.

The number of coronavirus cases had steadily declined in the start of the year, but soon picked up in the months of March and April. Just last week, the state of Colorado noted 210 outbreaks in schools which marks the highest ever since December’s high of 211, as stated in The Denver Post. Colorado has not only witnessed a hike in cases, but also in the number of hospitalizations. A report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association has recorded 847 coronavirus cases where people needed hospitalizations.

Children not qualifying for a vaccine dose isn’t making the situation any better. At present, no vaccine has been approved for individuals who are of 16 years of age and younger. Pfizer-BioNtech has appealed to the Food and Drug Administration to approve the vaccine that can be administered to children between the ages of 12 to 15. The request is in progress and the FDA is expected to verify the vaccine by next week.