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Kids are more likely to be vectors for fast-spreading new coronavirus strains like the Delta variant, former FDA chief says

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A girl wearing gloves and a face mask before going to the park in Turkey. Not related to this story. Aykut Unlupinar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • Officials are warning about the spread of the Delta variant, which is currently dominant in the UK.

  • Scott Gottlieb said such contagious variants mean "kids are becoming more likely to be vectors."

  • He predicted that children and schools could "become more of a focal point of spread."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The former head of the US Food and Drug Administration has said that children are likely to become "focal points" of the spread of the coronavirus as new and more contagious variants pose a threat.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday: "I think the reality is that kids are becoming more likely to be vectors of these new variants."

"The old assumptions about children and children [not] driving community spread were based on the original strain of this virus," he said.

"With these new, more contagious variants, I think we're going to see that children and schools do become more of a focal point of spread."

He was speaking as the Delta variant is quickly taking up a higher share of coronavirus infections in the US, and the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned earlier this month that the variant could soon become dominant in the US, like it has in the UK.

Last week President Joe Biden supports reopening schools for in-person teaching this fall, and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City announced last month that all the city's public schools would reopen in September with no remote option.

Gottlieb said he expects more of an emphasis on children and teenagers vaccinated in light of the Delta variant spreading.

The US has authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 and higher, and thousands of kids have been vaccinated since.

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