SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Children are now playing a huge role in the spread of COVID-19 variants.

There have been surges in the Midwest and in the Northeast.

Doctors in Utah are now trying to stop that from happening here. 

The Utah Department of Health said the last surge in the fall/winter started in college-aged kids and teenagers.

This could be the same this time, however, Utah throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been several weeks behind the trend.

“We don’t know,” said Primary Children’s Hospital Dr. Andy Pavia. “We have to be honest about that. More of the older adults are protected through vaccine so the people who are now acting as the center of the epidemic in these regions are children.”

Pavia said Utah is typically several weeks behind COVID surges. This surge could hit by the time there is an FDA-approved vaccine for teens.

“The way to be proactive is, unfortunately, is to just hang in there and continue doing the things we know how to do but we are really exhausted by doing,” said Pavia.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, “cases among younger children – infants through 9-year-olds are also going up, increasing by more than 230% since Feb. 19th.”

“We as adults have to help, but kids have really pulled their weight in this pandemic,” said Pavia.

This pandemic is in its 14 month and Utah is about to end its mask mandate.

Pavia said that is a problem, but on the flip side, almost 1 million Utahns have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pavia hopes a vaccine for kids is available by July.

The variant that is spreading the most in children and teens is B 1.1.7, first discovered in England.

Dr. Pavia said it is 50 percent more transmissible than the original strain of COVID-19.