COVID-19 deaths in children more than doubled recently in Florida, data shows

In Florida, coronavirus-related deaths in children more than doubled in the past six weeks, data shows.

“Early on in the pandemic, it’s almost as if the virus ignored kids. It just made the older people sick,” said Dr. Kenneth Alexander with Nemours Children’s Hospital.

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But Monday, Orange County health officials said the age range for coronavirus patients was 0 to 95 years old.

Alexander said the state’s pediatric coronavirus deaths have risen at a rapid rate.

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From the start of the pandemic through July 7, children under 16 had died from the virus in Florida — seven in 15 months. In just six weeks, the pediatric death toll rose to 17.

“Many of the kids do have comorbidities, obesity being prominent among them,” Alexander said. “We are seeing kids who are otherwise healthy, and this is like a bolt out of the blue.”

Early research shows children can get “long COVID” — persistent symptoms after infection — because they are experiencing some things for the long haul, such as shortness of breath, headaches and fatigue.

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Early research shows children can get “long COVID,” but it’s not as common as it is in adults.

Alexander said the hospital typically has 10 children with the virus at Nemours at any given time, with about half of them ending up in the ICU.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.