Doctors seeing rise in pediatric COVID-19 cases

That’s more than four times the transmission doctors saw in children around this time last year.

TAMPA, Fla. – Florida parents only have a few weeks or maybe just days before their kids go back to school and they will have to decide whether their kids will wear masks.

Governor DeSantis last week signed an executive order banning schools from requiring masks for schoolchildren.

10 Tampa Bay asked three primary care physicians if they would like to send their own children back to school wearing a mask this school year. Here are their answers:

dr. David Berger, Pediatrician, Holistic Pediatrics & Family Care:

Our kids have been vaccinated so we haven’t quite decided on it yet, but I also feel like they’ve been vaccinated recently, so there’s an issue of immunity that wanes over time, and I believe people who have recently are vaccinated, they are in the first place much less at risk.

dr. Nancy M. SilvaPediatrician, Small World Pediatrics:

They are definitely going to wear masks. He is fully vaccinated. She can’t yet. She’s too young, but they’re both completely masked.

dr. Wassam Rahman, medical director, Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital:

I don’t have young children but I would definitely recommend a mask.

According to the latest Florida Department of Health report, children are responsible for about 1 in 5 new cases of COVID-19 in Florida.

There were 21,881 new COVID cases in the 0-19 age bracket in the report. The state provides data for the age group 0-12 and then 12-19 years. Due to the lack of details in the age range, demographic age cannot be determined.

Last year around this time, the state looked at about 4,900 new cases in the 0-17 age bracket. In 2020, the government provided data more often and in a different format.

When comparing data from the last week of July 2020 with the last week of July 2021, Florida reports approximately more than four times the number of new COVID-19 cases among pediatric patients.

“It won’t be pretty, it won’t be like last year when everyone was masking and we saw very few cases of it,” said Dr. Berger about children going back to school during this wave.

According to data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 1 in 84 patients currently hospitalized in Florida with COVID-19 is a pediatric patient.

University of South Florida epidemiologist Dr Jason Salemi has been charting these trends since the start of the pandemic.

dr. Wassam Rahman says he sees more and more pediatric patients being hospitalized with COVID-19 and other viruses that have begun to circulate since restrictions were eased.

“We’re seeing a lot more patients than ever. We used to see one or two a day and our volumes were low, now the ER is bursting at the seams,” he said.

It is extremely unlikely that a child will die from COVID-19. There have been seven pediatric deaths in Florida since the start of the pandemic.

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