The kids are safe. They always have been.
It may sound strange, given a year of panic over school closures and reopenings, a year of masking toddlers and closing playgrounds and huddling in pandemic pods, that among children the mortality risk from COVID-19 is actually lower than from the flu. The risk of severe disease or hospitalization is about the same.
This is true for the much-worried-over Delta variant. It is also true for all the other variants, and for the original strain. Most remarkably, it has been known to be true since the very earliest days of the pandemic — indeed it was among the very first things we did know about the disease. The preliminary mortality data from China was very clear: To children, COVID-19 represented only a vanishingly tiny threat of death, hospitalization, or severe disease.
Yet for a year and a half we have been largely unwilling to fully believe it. Children now wear masks at little-league games, and at the swimming pool, and when school reopens in the fall they will likely wear masks there, too. But the kids are not at risk themselves, and never were. Now, thanks to vaccines, the vast majority of their parents and grandparents aren’t any longer, either.