TAMPA, Fla. – A 6-year-old girl from Hillsborough County has become Florida’s youngest to die of COVID-19. She died on August 17, according to the state’s reporting.
We do know that she is one of almost 34,000 Floridians under the age of 15 to get the virus.
They make up 6% of the sunshine state’s total cases, but less than 1% of the deaths, with a total of four.
“The COVID disease is a milder disease in children than it is in adults,” said Dr. Allison Ford Messina of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. “There are some theories but I don’t think any of the theories people have thought about have been proven. In fact, I know none of them have been proven yet.”
There is much focus now on COVID-19 and how it impacts children as schools reopen.
Nine schools in Manatee County have confirmed cases after the district’s first week back. It was the first in the Bay Area to reopen.
Manatee County said the known cases were in kids who lived with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Officials will now watch teachers and classmates closely. Scientists have not pinned down whether one case in a classroom or school will result in a so-called super spreader event.
One doctor who testified for the state in a lawsuit to stop schools from opening said it’s not likely.
“This virus, in that sense, doesn’t behave like our normal expectations for how other viruses behave in terms of children passing it on,” said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University.
Dr. Messina that says studies, so far, have been mixed on how efficiently children spread COVID-19, but it’s likely kids will transmit the virus the way adults do, through respiratory droplets. She
“The take-home from this is everybody needs to wear their masks,” said Dr. Messina. “We should not think of kids as unable to transmit it, even if they are less likely to.”
So far, about 430 kids statewide have been hospitalized, which is just over 1% of the cases among children.
Pediatric COVID-19 deaths in Florida. Source: Fla. Dept. of Health
According to data from the Department of Health, a total of 7,188 children have tested positive for the virus from Aug. 7 to Aug. 20, with a 13.1% positivity rate.
As of Friday, a total of 47,489 minors have tested positive for COVID-19.
Doctors say children generally show far fewer symptoms of the virus than adults, making them more likely to be asymptomatic carriers – though their role in spreading the virus continues to be studied.