Florida reported its youngest fatality linked to the coronavirus on Thursday.
An 11-year-old boy from Miami-Dade County died earlier this week, health officials said.
His death is the youngest confirmed fatality from COVID-19 in the state.
Previously, the youngest person to die from the disease was a 16-year-old girl from Lee County.
Dr. David Dodson, a local infectious disease specialist, tells our news partner WPTV NewsChannel 5 that he fears that number will only increase.
He describes the increase in cases as exponential, and adds that 17 percent of all the hospitalizations in Florida at this time are people under the age of 45.
What is social distancing? It can include:
-Keeping at least 6 feet from others 🙅♂️
-Staying away from large crowds 🏟️
-Avoiding public transit if possible 🚍 https://t.co/sSIsh7jrzD
— Florida Dept. Health (@HealthyFla) July 2, 2020
Dodson also says the best preventative measures are to wear masks, avoid large crowds, and stay at home when possible.
“I wish people would just even though it’s beautiful outside, and the sun is shining, we’re in a hot zone. We’re in a pandemic. This is a lethal pandemic, and how this goes depends on each of our behavior,” said Dodson.
He continues, “If you really clamp down and make everyone stay home the virus really can’t be transmitted, so then the cases go down after a couple of weeks. Then we’ve learned if you open up society and allow people to interact, then the cases go up. So, what we’re on right now is an exponential growth curve.”
The new cases on Thursday put the state total at 169,106.
Palm Beach County has 14,859 cases and 523 deaths as of Thursday.