Weeks Before Fla. Schools Open, COVID Surges Among Kids

Cases are up 34% and hospitalizations have climbed 23% as schools prepare to reopen
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2020 5:05 AM CDT
COVID-19 Cases Up 34% Among Florida Kids
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis answers questions during a roundtable discussion regarding mental health and COVID-19 at the Tampa Bay Crisis Center on July 16.   (Martha Asencio-Rhine/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Hospitalizations among Florida children infected with the novel coronavirus jumped by more than 20% over eight days this month. Data shows 303 minors were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of July 24, compared to 246 children as of July 16—a 23% increase, per the Hill. During the same period, cases among those below the age of 18 increased 34%, from 23,170 to 31,150, according to the Florida Health Department. A 9-year-old girl from Putnam County became the youngest person in the state to die of COVID-19 on July 17. Kimora Lynum was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection on July 11 after arriving at a hospital with a fever of 103 degrees. Less than a week later, she didn't wake up from a nap, per WBTV. She had no known pre-existing conditions or contact with an infected person.

The test positivity rate among children also rose from 13.4% to 14.4% between July 16 and 24. These figures "directly contradict" Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' July 16 claim that children don't get infected, per CNN. "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves so … the default should be getting back to school kids in person, in the classroom," DeVos said, per the Washington Post. Public and charter schools in Florida must open for at least five days each week starting in August under an order from Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration, per the Hill. The American Federation of Teachers and its local affiliate are suing to block the order, noting the state constitution requires "safe" and "secure" public education. (More coronavirus stories.)

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