Florida sees 87% spike in Covid cases among children under 12

Doctors have raised the alarm that children are increasingly at risk from Covid-19

Amid rapidly rising coronavirus infections and hospitalisations across the population in Florida, there has been a surge in children getting infected.

“In children less than 12 years of age, it was an 87% increase, and in those children who are 12 to 19 years of age, it was an 84% increase,” said Dr. Jason Salemi, associate professor of epidemiology at USF College of Public Health.

The exponential growth in cases is thought to be largely due to the Delta variant, which is more infectious than other strains, reports Fox 13 News.

At Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St Petersburg, there has been a spike in visits to the ER. The chief medical officer Dr. Joseph Perno said record numbers of paediatric patients are testing positive for the virus.

“Our last seven days, we’ve seen more patients than any other seven days since the pandemic began. So we’re seeing a dramatic increase in kids,” he said.

Children under 12 are currently not eligible to get vaccinated, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and just 22 per cent of youngsters between 12- and 17-years-old are fully vaccinated.

Earlier today, President Joe Biden said in a televised town hall that under-12s might be able to get their vaccines as early as August or September. Until then, he said, the CDC is likely to recommend that “everyone under the age of 12 should probably be wearing masks in school”.

Doctors say children usually contract milder cases of coronavirus, but in the past month, hospitalisations in Florida have more than doubled.

The state is quickly becoming a covid hotspot, with new infections in total last week reaching 45,000.

Most infections are among those who are unvaccinated.

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