Thirty-one percent of children in Florida have tested positive for the new coronavirus, worrying health officials who say that the long-term effects of the virus in children are still unknown.
According to The Grio, Florida is quickly becoming the new epicenter of the pandemic. More than 327,241 citizens have been infected and 4,805 have died. More than 20,000 residents are currently hospitalized. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently blamed the media last month saying it stopped asking him about the coronavirus in May.
As DeSantis continues to push for schools to open just over a month from now, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel notes Dr. Alina Alonso, Palm Beach County’s health department director, said even asymptomatic children are experiencing lung damage as a result of the coronavirus.
“We don’t know how that is going to manifest a year from now or two years from now,” Alonso told county commissioners on Tuesday. “Is that child going to have chronic pulmonary problems or not?”
Medical researchers are finding the coronavirus can develop into a condition called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome. So far, there have been 13 confirmed cases of the syndrome in the state.
“We are learning something every day,” Dr. Jorge Perez, who operates Kidz Medical Services, a chain of pediatric offices across South Florida, told The Grio. “We have to be knowledgeable about this and continue to monitor to see what effects it has on children.”
The Trump administration has been pushing for a return to school for children despite coronavirus numbers growing across the country. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday school reopenings this fall shouldn’t be contingent on the science surrounding coronavirus.
“The president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open. And when he says open, he means open in full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school.” McEnany said. “The science should not stand in the way of this,” she added, saying it is “perfectly safe” to fully reopen all classrooms.
BuzzFeed reported teachers in many states are considering quitting, rather than returning to classrooms to teach and risking their lives. Even more concerning is that many school districts, especially in metro areas, don’t have the space needed to socially distance children or the funds necessary to give schools a thorough cleaning every day.