Florida health officials say approximately 31 percent, or one-third of children in Florida tested for COVID-19 were exposed to virus.
State data indicates that out of 54,022 Florida children tested, 31.1 percent have returned positive results on average. This is higher than the statewide positivity rate, which reads in at about 11 percent.
Alina Alonso, the health department director of Palm Beach County, reportedly told county commissioners on Tuesday that the long-term consequences of coronavirus in children are unknown. But, she fears the virus can cause potential lifelong damage in children
“They are seeing there is damage to the lungs in these asymptomatic children. … We don’t know how that is going to manifest a year from now or two years from now,” Alonso told reporters. “Is that child going to have chronic pulmonary problems or not?”
This comes as states determine whether in-person education will resume in the fall.
Outside of potentially hazardous consequences of a coronavirus infection to children, asymptomatic carriers pose a threat to teachers and other staff, who are demographically more likely to have a severe infection.
Both DeSantis and other government officials, such as Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, said public school districts have to “open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students.”
This plan has received pushback from teachers’ unions, who believe that reopening too soon will risk the health of teachers, children and parents.
The American Academy of Pediatrics weighed in on the issue, issuing a statement along with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA) and AASA, The School Superintendents Association.
“Returning to school is important for the healthy development and well-being of children, but we must pursue re-opening in a way that is safe for all students, teachers and staff. Science should drive decision-making on safely reopening schools. Public health agencies must make recommendations based on evidence, not politics. We should leave it to health experts to tell us when the time is best to open up school buildings, and listen to educators and administrators to shape how we do it.”