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article imageChild hospitalizations from Covid-19 surge 23 percent in Florida

By Karen Graham     Jul 28, 2020 in Health
West Palm Beach - Just weeks before schools are expected to open across Florida, the numbers of new cases of coronavirus in children, along with hospitalizations have surged.
“Not only are we seeing an increase in the number of children being infected with coronavirus, we’re also seeing an increase in the hospitalizations of children,” said Dr. Angelica Johnson, a pediatric emergency room doctor, and member of the T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society, based in Palm Beach Gardens, according to CBS12 News.
According to the Florida Department of Health (FDH), on July 16, the state had a total of 23,170 children ages 17 and under who had tested positive for coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. By July 24, that number jumped to 31,150.
Jason Salemi, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the University of South Florida in Tampa, points out that the Department of Health has only been reporting pediatric data since June. According to CNN, the data supplied by the FDH shows an increase of 34 percent over a period of just eight days.
It should also be pointed out that more children in Florida are requiring hospitalization. As of July 16, 246 children had been hospitalized with coronavirus. By July 24, that number had jumped to 303. This is an increase in hospitalizations of 23 percent in eight days.
The test positivity rate among children also rose from 13.4 percent to 14.4 percent between July 16 and 24. "It is still too high, 13 to 14 percent is a very high number in kids," said Dr. Johnson.
This new coronavirus data coming out of Florida is in direct contradiction of comments made by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, as she pressed the administration’s case for reopening schools in the fall with in-person classes, according to the Washington Post.
"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.
President Trump went so far as to repeat her claim in a news briefing last Wednesday evening. “They do say that [children] don’t transmit very easily, and a lot of people are saying they don’t transmit,” he said. “They don’t bring it home with them. They don’t catch it easily; they don’t bring it home easily.”
Public and charter schools in Florida must open for at least five days each week starting in August under an order from Governor Ron DeSantis' administration. The American Federation of Teachers and its local affiliate, the Florida Education Association, have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the order, alleging that the measure violates the state constitution's requirement for "safe" and "secure" public education.
More about Florida, coronavirus, Children, cases soar, Betsy DeVos
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