Florida Worst State for COVID-Hospitalized Kids, Vaccine-Eligible Teens Hit Hardest

Florida has the worst rate in the U.S. for children being hospitalized with COVID, with the virus spreading most among kids who are eligible for vaccination.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 32 children per day were hospitalized by the virus in Florida between July 24 and July 30, The Tampa Bay Times reported. That works out as the highest rate in the country.

The Florida Department of Health reported 11,048 new COVID infections among children aged 12 to 19 between July 23 and July 29, according to the report, compared with 10,785 new cases among children under the age of 12 in the same period.

Children aged 11 and under are not yet eligible for COVID vaccination. Statistics show that the majority of children in Florida who are eligible are yet to be vaccinated.

As of Friday, only 38 percent of young people aged 12 to 19 had been vaccinated, according to the report.

With children across the state set to return to schools this month, there are growing concerns that the virus could further tighten its grip on the population, unless vaccination rates improve drastically.

On Friday Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order threatening to withhold funding from schools in the state that require students to wear face masks.

The Broward County and Gadsden County school districts subsequently dropped plans to implement face mask mandates on Monday.

Newsweek has contacted Florida's department of health for comment.

The situation echoes that in Louisiana, where children who contract COVID were being hospitalized at a higher rate than ever before at one hospital.

Furthermore, a health worker told a press conference on Monday that many of the children who have been hospitalized had no pre-existing health conditions.

The vast majority of people who have lost their lives to COVID have been either elderly or suffering from underlying health conditions, but significant numbers of children and healthy young people have also died or become seriously ill from the virus.

A research paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December, 2020, found that 11,899 more people aged 25 to 44 died in the U.S. between March and August than had been expected, based on historical figures.

Cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare condition that can affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal organs, are also on the rise.

Scientists have linked the condition with COVID, and as of June 28, 2021, 4,196 MIS-C cases had resulted in 37 deaths, according to the CDC.

covid hospital teenager, stock, getty
A stock image shows a teenager in hospital. Florida has the worst rate of COVID hospitalization among children in the U.S. Getty Images