On Wednesday, Sept. 15, there were 12 patients 17 and younger in West Virginia hospitals. Six of those patients were in intensive care, while two were on ventilators, infected by the Delta Variety of COVID-19. The mantra from the beginning of the pandemic was those 50 and older were the most vulnerable to the virus. That held true for months, but it is not true anymore.

Statistics from the West Virginia Joint Interagency Task Force show what many health care workers and parents already know: the Delta variant isn't checking ID's and is no respecter of age -- it's infecting the state's kids.

A chart from the WVJIATF shows the incidence of infection by age group per 10,000 people. Starting the second week of August, newborns to 17 year olds were getting infected at a rate of 17 cases for every 10,000 of their peers. Over the last four weeks that number has gone up dramatically. Every seven days has seen an increase.

From 27 cases, to 56 cases, to 87 cases per week per 10,000.

Last week's number for the 0-17 age group was 98 cases per 10,000, by far the highest number in West Virginia. However, other age groups, including 18-to-29 year olds and 30-to-49 year olds are at levels previously unseen during the pandemic.

Some have pointed out that while the total number of cases is important, serious cases should be the most important parameter.

Those 11 and younger cannot yet get vaccinated. Doctors recommend one way to help protect younger children from COVID-19 is for the people around them to be vaccinated. If parents, older siblings, relatives and teachers are fully vaccinated that could assist in creating a protective bubble around the children to keep them as safe as possible from the virus.