On July 16, the state had a total of 23,170 children ages 17 and under who had tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Florida Department of Health. By Friday, that number jumped to 31,150.
That’s a 34% increase in new cases among children in eight days.
And 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.
That’s a 23% increase in child Covid-19 hospitalizations in eight days.
During that same time period, the death toll among children in Florida went from 4 to 5.
On July 18, Kimora “Kimmie” Lynum died from Covid-19 complications, according to state health department records. The 9-year-old girl’s family said Kimmie had no known pre-existing conditions.
The surges in child Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations come amid rampant debate over whether children should return to classrooms this fall, or if they should continue remote learning.
And White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx has repeatedly said scientists are still studying how quickly children under the age of 10 can spread the virus, as many of them have stayed home and away from their peers during peak months of this pandemic.
The test positivity rate for children was particularly high in Martin County (25.3%) and Miami-Dade County (19.6%).
“I do understand the need for opening up the schools,” said Dr. Andrew Pastewski, a father and medical director of the intensive care unit at Jackson South Medical Center in Miami.
“Kids need to develop, they need to grow, they need to learn, they need to develop social skills,” he said. “However, we’re surging right now. I would not think opening up during a surge was the right time.”
CNN’s Maeve Reston contributed to this report.