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Los Angeles Times: 'Don’t Panic.' How Parents With Kids Too Young to Vaccinate Can Navigate Omicron

The Los Angeles Times recently spoke with Cedars-Sinai infectious disease specialist Catherine Le, MD, and pediatric infectious disease specialist Priya Soni, MD, about protecting young children against the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19.

More children are being hospitalized with the omicron variant than with previous variants, but that's because the new variant is more infectious, not more dangerous, Le told the Times. Viruses naturally evolve this way because a virus that kills its host can’t survive, Le said.

Still, children who contract any variant are at risk for complications, including long COVID-19—symptoms that persist for weeks or months—and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which Le called "rare but scary" because it can result in organ failure.

Children 5 and older are currently eligible for vaccination against COVID-19, and Soni and other experts recommended the vaccine as safe and effective. They also advised making sure everyone eligible who is in close contact with children is vaccinated.

Soni also advised masking, even on the playground. "We now recommend that children, even as they’re going back to school, remain masked in heavily populated outdoor spaces," said Soni.

Masks are not recommended for children 2 or younger, and parents of these children can make them safer by increasing physical distancing, according to the Los Angeles Times article.

Because omicron symptoms—including fever, dry cough, sore throat, body aches and runny nose—mimic those of the common cold, Soni recommended COVID-19 testing for children who develop these symptoms.

Click here to read the complete article from the Los Angeles Times.