Children’s COVID-19 infections are rising in Florida and Texas, and many of them are among kids who are too young to be vaccinated

children covid-19 vaccine
  • COVID-19 pediatric hospitalization rates are on the rise in Florida as some kids are too young to be vaccinated.
  • More than 40 pediatric patients were hospitalized in Florida on Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19.
  • Despite the spike in COVID-19 cases among children, Gov. DeSantis banned mask mandates in schools.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

COVID-19 infection rates in children are on the rise in states like Florida and Texas, as some kids are too young to be vaccinated.

More than 40 pediatric patients were hospitalized in Florida on Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number to 135 pediatric COVID-19 patients in the state, according to federal hospital capacity data.

Texas is the only state to report more confirmed pediatric COVID-19 patients than Florida, with a total of 142 children hospitalized who tested positive for COVID-19.

An analysis of weekly case data by the Miami Herald revealed that the sharpest increase over the past month has particularly spiked in children under 12. All Florida residents ages 12 and older are eligible to receive a vaccine, leaving kids who don’t meet the age requirement vulnerable to the coronavirus, especially amid a surge in infections due to the delta variant.

Ronald Ford, chief medical officer for Memorial Healthcare System’s Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, told The Hill that, unlike previous waves of the pandemic, more symptomatic cases among children are being admitted to emergency rooms.

“In our previous iteration of the pandemic, it was more they’re positive but they’re not sick or minimally sick,” he said. “This is different. There’s a much higher percentage of pediatric patients becoming infected and symptomatic.”

Despite the spike in COVID-19 cases among children, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has continued to resist calls from public health officials to implement a statewide mask or vaccine mandate.

Last week, the Florida governor signed an executive order prohibiting school districts from mandating masks – a move both celebrated and condemned by parents amid a growing divide in public health opinion. Despite the ban, several school districts still moved forward with such mandates, challenging DeSantis’ threat to withhold funds from school districts if they do.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis snapped at Biden for criticizing his handling of COVID-19: ‘Why don’t you do your job?’

ron desantis florida vaccine 60 minutes
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

  • Biden told some governors to “get out of the way” if they aren’t going to help with COVID-19.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hit back at Biden Wednesday, telling him to do his job at the border.
  • The number of migrants at the border is surging, while states like Florida and Texas face COVID-19 outbreaks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis snapped at President Joe Biden during a press conference on Wednesday after the White House criticized the state’s handling of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Biden singled out Florida and Texas, which together account for roughly a third of all COVID-19 cases in the US.

“Some governors aren’t willing to do the right things to make this happen,” Biden told reporters, without mentioning the governors by name, according to USA Today. “I say to these governors, please help. If you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.”

Read more: 11 problematic people and issues that could torpedo Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ rise toward a 2024 presidential run

DeSantis, a Republican, signed an order last week to prohibit masks from being required in schools, threatening to strip funding from schools that do. Meanwhile, Florida is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks in the country, with a surge in cases and record-breaking hospitalizations driven by the more infectious Delta variant.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, DeSantis said Biden is trying to “single out Florida over COVID.”

“This is a guy who ran for president saying he was going to, quote, shut down the virus,” DeSantis said. “And what has he done? He’s imported more virus from around the world by having a wide-open southern border.”

“Why don’t you do your job? Why don’t you get this border secure, and until you do that, I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you,” he continued before abruptly leaving the mic.

Republican lawmakers have blasted the Biden administration over the surge in migrants traveling to the southern border. More than 188,000 migrants arrived at the border in June, the most of any month in recent history.

Some border communities have also experienced an uptick in COVID-19 cases, prompting increased pressure on Biden to address the situation. The Department of Homeland Security announced Friday it resumed fast-track deportation flights to Central America for migrants who could not be deported under Title 42.

Title 42 is a controversial order first invoked under President Donald Trump to quickly expel migrants without allowing them to apply for asylum due to COVID-19 risks. The administration said Monday it would continue to apply Title 42 to deport migrants.

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Florida Gov. DeSantis defends unvaccinated people who are catching COVID-19, media is being ‘judgmental’

Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, speaking in an interview.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the media was being “judgmental” of unvaccinated people getting sick from COVID-19.
  • “Nobody’s trying to get ill here,” he told the press on Tuesday.
  • Florida is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and the majority of hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis defended unvaccinated people who were getting sick from COVID-19 on Tuesday, saying the media was being “judgmental.”

While speaking to the press in Miami on Tuesday, DeSantis was asked about the recent rise in COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated people in Florida, WESH reported.

“When somebody contracts a highly transmissible airborne virus, they’re viewed as having done something wrong,” he said. “And that’s just not the way you do it when people come in, you treat them. Are you going to sit there and criticize, or are we going to try to treat, and try to help the folks? Nobody’s trying to get ill here.”

Florida reported its highest-ever number of daily COVID-19 cases on Friday, recording more than 21,000 new cases in just one day.

Hospitalizations have also increased by more than 1,000 since June, and 95% of those hospitalized and almost all of the recent deaths have been among the unvaccinated, health officials told the Associated Press.

DeSantis railed against the press during the briefing, according to WESH, accusing journalists of fear-mongering about the pandemic that has claimed over 600,000 American lives.

DeSantis said that Florida’s hospitals are “open for business” as he spoke to the press on Tuesday.

“Even in places that have more, COVID patients represent a fraction of the overall hospital beds and I don’t want to see a repeat, that people with heart problems don’t go in [to hospitals],” he said. “With all due respect, I find that deplorable to blame a victim who ends up being hospitalized. You don’t know their story. You don’t know what happened.”

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1 in 3 new COVID-19 cases over the past week were in 2 states – Texas and Florida, White House official says

A Florida woman ireceives a coronavirus test in her car.
New cases of COVID-19 in Florida have grown by more than 400% since the start of July 2021.

  • A third of new US COVID-19 cases over the past week were in Texas and Florida, the White House said.
  • The highly infectious Delta variant accounts for more than 80% of new cases in both states.
  • Jeff Zients, a White House official, said getting vaccinated was the best way to stop the spread.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A third of all US cases in the past week were in two states – Texas and Florida.

That’s according to Jeff Zients, coronavirus response coordinator at the White House, who said Tuesday that “one in three cases nationwide occurred in Florida and Texas, this past week.”

The US recorded 598,214 new cases over the past seven days, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Texas recorded 68,525 new weekly cases on Tuesday. Florida recorded 110,724 new cases during the same period, according to Johns Hopkins University, for a combined total of about 180,000.

Florida’s weekly tally is just short of its record high for the entire pandemic, of 111,574 cases over a week in January.

Zients said in the briefing that the White House remained “concerned” about the rise in cases driven by the Delta variant. Delta is at least 50% more infectious than the formerly dominant Alpha variant, and has mutations that help it to avoid the immune response.

It now accounts for more than 80% of new cases in both Florida and Texas, according to Scripps’ University Outbreak.info, which uses Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

Zients said that COVID-19 vaccines were the “the tool that is most important.” Cases were “concentrated in communities with lower vaccination rates,” he said.

Read more: Experts explain why the mRNA tech that revolutionized COVID-19 vaccines could be the answer to incurable diseases, heart attacks, and even snake bites: ‘The possibilities are endless’

In Florida and Texas, 50.4% and 45.1% of the population are fully-vaccinated respectively, compared to the national average of 49.7%.

For comparison, about 68% of people in Vermont and Rhode Island are fully-vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Zients added that the seven states with the lowest vaccination rates – representing 8% of Americans – accounted for more than 17% of cases.

As of Tuesday, the states with the lowest vaccination rates were Alabama, Mississippi, Wyoming, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, and Idaho, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The seven states with the highest number of new daily cases per 100,000 people were Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Mississipi, Alabama, Missouri, and Oklahoma, according to Covid Act Now, which mostly uses CDC data.

Zients said that “there are still about 90 million eligible Americans who are unvaccinated, and we need them to do their part.”

They should “roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated,” he said.

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Surgeon general says he’s ‘deeply concerned’ as COVID-19 cases reach record highs in Florida

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy
Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

  • US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said he’s “deeply concerned” about Florida, where COVID-19 cases are surging.
  • Florida is currently leading the country in per capita COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • On Saturday, the state registered more than 21,000 new infections – a record high.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Monday that he’s “deeply concerned” about Florida – where COVID-19 cases have reached record highs – and other states where infections are increasing.

“I am deeply concerned about what’s happening in Florida and certainly many parts of our country with cases rising,” Murthy said during an interview on “CBS This Morning.”

Florida is currently leading the country in per capita COVID-19 hospitalizations with more than 10,000 coronavirus patients, data shows.

The Sunshine State also hit a single-day record for new coronavirus cases on Saturday with more than 21,000 infections recorded.

“I think what we see time and time again … with COVID-19 is that it’s going to throw curveballs at us,” Murthy said, explaining that the highly tranmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus “is the latest curveball.”

Murthy added, “And what we have to be ready to do is increase our vaccination pace while we are using mitigation measures, including wearing masks.”

Read more: Internal CDC document warns ‘the war has changed’ with the more infectious Delta variant

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance and recommended that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear face masks indoors in areas where coronavirus transmission is high.

“That’s one of the reasons the CDC revised its guidance last week to encourage more mask usage because we know it’s a powerful way to reduce the spread of the virus while getting vaccination rates up,” Murthy said.

Despite surging coronavirus cases in Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order last week prohibiting schools in the state from requiring students to wear face masks when they return to classrooms this month.

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Florida just reported its highest-ever number of daily COVID-19 cases and has become the new US epicenter for the virus

A treatment tent is seen outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne
A treatment tent is seen outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne.

  • Florida reported its highest number of daily coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.
  • More than 110,000 positive COVID-19 cases were recorded in Florida in the past week, data shows.
  • The surge has become so drastic that one out of every five cases in the US now comes from Florida.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Florida has broken its record for daily COVID-19 cases, reporting its highest one-day total since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to new numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Federal health data showed that the state recorded a whopping 21,683 new cases on Friday. The news makes Florida the new COVID-19 epicenter in the US, according to the Associated Press.

The pace of new infections in Florida appears to be rapidly rising; the state recorded just 17,093 cases the previous day and just 13,256 one week before that.

Previously, Florida’s highest number of daily cases was 19,334 on January 7, 2021. Though CDC figures show a spike of 30,531 cases on January 2, that figure actually encompassed January 1 as well, according to The Palm Beach Post.

In just the past week, confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida spiked by more than 50%, according to state health data.

The Florida Department of Health said in a recent report that it recorded more than 110,000 new cases from June 23 to June 29. In the week prior, there were about 73,000 cases reported.

For weeks, Florida has marked continuous surges in the number of positive coronavirus cases. The counts have risen so much that one out of every five coronavirus cases in the United States now comes from Florida.

Amid the rise in cases, Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly criticized mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which last week urged vaccinated people to now wear face coverings indoors.

On Friday, DeSantis signed an executive order that barred schools from mandating kids wear masks.

“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” he said.

DeSantis brought the point home during a press conference, saying both he and his wife are “not going to do the mask with the kids.”

At the same time as the spike in cases in the past week, vaccinations also shot up, increasing by about 15%, state health data shows. About 50% of Florida’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Weekly case counts in Florida are beginning to match some of the worst weeks for the state in the history of the coronavirus pandemic. State data shows that the new coronavirus cases in the past week either match or surpass the rate in January – before vaccines were widely available.

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Florida nightlife is going wild and college students refuse to stop the party even as the Delta variant of the coronavirus rips through the state

A crowd of people parties in a nightclub
In Florida, some students are vowing that, even as the Delta variant of the coronavirus surges, the party just won’t stop.

  • The state of Florida is saturated with the highly-transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.
  • Meanwhile, colleges across the state are preparing to open their doors for the fall semester.
  • Undergrads at schools statewide told Insider that their plans to keep partying aren’t slowing down.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

On a recent Saturday night in July, the vibrations of EDM music pulsating from bars and nightclubs along Atlantic Avenue drifted into the palm fronds and sliced through the humid Florida air.

In the heart of Palm Beach County, a throng of 20-somethings snaked down the block outside The Office, a local nightlife venue in Delray Beach, poised to elbow their way toward the crowded bar and order rounds of shots.

Across the road at Taverna Opa, another late-night party scene, a DJ spun some tracks to a crowd of dozens as belly dancers stood on top of wooden tables and swerved through the air.

During the worst surges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida hotspots like these have counted on the loyalty of one oftentimes carefree constituency: local college students who, come Saturday night, are ready to get lit.

“I don’t think I can really name a whole lot of people that don’t go out,” Nicole Prescott, 23, a drama student at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, told Insider. She’s noticed that masks have been a rarity throughout the spring and summer on the few occasions she’s gone out with friends since receiving her Pfizer shots.

“Being so lax about protocols and just letting people go through life however they want with COVID is really dangerous,” she added.

Across Florida, the highly-transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus is surging. As of July 30, more than 38,000 new COVID cases were reported in the state, versus 2,319 one month before, according to a database maintained by the New York Times.

On a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map which designates counties as red zones if they’ve experienced high levels of community spread, all of Florida is illustrated in crimson. Less than half of the adult population has been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Nevertheless, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed an executive order in May which ended all mask mandates local governments in the state had imposed on their residents. In September, he rolled back restrictions on restaurants’ operating capacity, months before vaccines were available.

On Friday, DeSantis issued another executive order, this one prohibiting schools from requiring mask-wearing in the classroom, even after the CDC recommended this week that K-12 students and staff do exactly the opposite.

‘They’re just going out and not caring at all’

Insider interviewed seven undergrads from five universities throughout the state: the University of Miami, the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida State University in Tallahassee, Palm Beach State College, and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

In spite of the virus’ growing threat, the consensus from these students was that the party is far from over.

For Brianna Pope, 20, a Palm Beach State College nursing major, the nightclubs in Fort Lauderdale’s cosmopolitan Las Olas district are the most tempting draw.

Weekend nights out typically begin around 10 P.M., she told Insider. On the dance floors of popular hotspots, masks aren’t part of the dress code.

“They’re just going out and not caring at all,” Pope said. “When you go down there, there’s really no one wearing masks or anyone taking precautions.”

Schools vary on requirements for masking or social distancing as the semester begins

The University of Florida, a state school in Gainesville, is known as much for its athletic culture as for its undergrads’ hard-charging party scene.

In an emailed statement on Saturday, a spokesperson for the university told Insider that classes will resume in-person this semester without physical distancing. Wearing masks will be optional, though vaccines are highly encouraged for students, faculty, and staff.

At Palm Beach State College, which operates multiple sites throughout the county, the school strongly recommends face coverings on campus, inside classrooms and offices, and outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible, according to an internal email sent in late July by administrators which reviewed by Insider.

Spokespersons for Palm Beach State College did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Saturday.

Fears are mounting over what the fall semester could bring

The very real prospect of coronavirus outbreaks in student residences has some housing administrators putting preemptive restrictions into place.

Insider reviewed an email sent by Shawn Woodin, president and CEO of the Southern Scholarship Foundation, which provides off-campus housing for 470 students in cities including Tallahassee and Gainesville.

The email, sent on July 29, informed students that face coverings would be required within any of its 26 housing sites where fewer than 80% of residents are fully vaccinated. Having guests will be forbidden in any of those houses.

When reached by phone on Saturday, Woodin told Insider that fewer than 50% of residents ages 18-23 reported that they had been fully inoculated against the virus, based on data he’d reviewed.

“Based on the spring semester, I know that, as college students, some of our residents were going to parties, gatherings, that should have not have happened,” Woodin said. “Will those behaviors continue? I hope not, but it’s likely some of our residents will.”

Nevertheless, some students are wary of what the autumn semester may have in store as school gets underway.

“Some students might ignore the CDC guidelines and prioritize having fun,” said Daniel Gallup, 20, a student at the University of Florida who received the Pfizer vaccine in March.

“But I’m going to follow the recommendations,” he added, “because going out isn’t worth getting sick and spreading it to anyone else, especially people I care about.”

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Positive COVID-19 cases in Florida spiked by 50% in just the last week

A treatment tent is seen outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne
A treatment tent is seen outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne.

  • More than 110,000 positive COVID-19 cases were recorded in Florida in the past week, state data shows.
  • That figure represents a spike of more than 50% compared to the last week.
  • The surges have become so drastic that one out of every five cases in the US now comes from Florida.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In just the past week, confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida spiked by more than 50%, according to state health data.

The Florida Department of Health said in a recent report that it recorded more than 110,000 new cases from June 23 to June 29. In the week prior, there were about 73,000 cases reported.

For weeks, Florida has marked continuous surges in the number of positive coronavirus cases. The counts have risen so much that one out of every five coronavirus cases in the United States now comes from Florida.

Amid the rise in cases, Gov. Ron DeSantis has repeatedly criticized mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which last week urged vaccinated people to now wear face coverings indoors.

On Friday, DeSantis signed an executive order that barred schools from mandating kids wear masks.

“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” he said.

DeSantis brought the point home during a press conference, saying both he and his wife are “not going to do the mask with the kids.”

At the same time as the spike in cases in the past week, vaccinations also shot up, increasing by about 15%, state health data shows. About 50% of Florida’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Weekly case counts in Florida are beginning to match some of the worst weeks for the state in the history of the coronavirus pandemic. State data shows that the new coronavirus cases in the past week either match or surpass the rate in January – before vaccines were widely available.

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Florida county that’s home to Disney World declares ‘state of emergency’ over surge in the Delta variant

disney world pandemic

The central Florida county that is home to Disney World and 1.3 million people is now in a state of emergency after experiencing the largest single-day number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings signed an executive order on Wednesday declaring the emergency, which could be the first step toward issuing a new mask mandate. For now, though, face coverings are only being encouraged as part of an effort to avoid another shutdown.

“I urge our residents and visitors – vaccinated and unvaccinated – to wear a mask while indoors,” Demings said in a statement.

According to the executive order, the 14-day positive test rate in Orange County is now more than 15%, up from less than 4.3% at the end of June.

Approximately 1,371 people tested positive on July 27, a record high. Wastewater monitoring indicates there has been a “substantial increase” in COVID-19 amid the spread of the more contagious Delta variant.

Just over half of Orange County’s population, or 52.6%, has been fully vaccinated, according to data collected by the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper. The national vaccination rate is 49.4%.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis quietly met with anti-maskers and vaccine skeptics days after telling Floridians to get vaccinated

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

  • The Florida governor met with anti-maskers and vaccine skeptics on Monday, The Daily Beast reported.
  • It came days after he urged Floridians to get vaccinated.
  • Florida is currently being ravaged by the Delta coronavirus variant.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis quietly met with vaccine skeptics and anti-maskers just days after urging residents in his state to get vaccinated, The Daily Beast reported.

DeSantis met with the group at the state Capitol in Tallahassee on Monday night, The Daily Beast reported. The group included Mark McDonald, a clinical psychiatrist who has suggested that people should acquire “natural immunity” from COVID-19 instead of receiving a vaccine, the outlet said.

Transcript of the meeting obtained by The Daily Beast showed that McDonald called his home state of California a “medical apartheid state” because officials have asked people to wear masks indoors.

In subsequent emails to The Daily Beast, McDonald railed against the vaccination of children against COVID-19, and also suggested that masks and vaccines “don’t work.”

While he insisted in a separate email that he was “not “anti-vaccine” in any sense,” he has previously expressed skepticism towards vaccine efficacy against new strains of COVID-19, The Daily Beast said.

In a Facebook post on July 19, he wrote: “Yesterday just a statistic. Today major news. The experimental vaccines are INEFFECTIVE against the currently circulating non-deadly viral strains. So why are we still ordering everyone to get shots, rather than encourage natural immunity?”

DeSantis attended the meeting just days after he urged Floridians to sign up for vaccinations, The Daily Beast noted. He told a press conference last week: “If you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID is effectively zero.”

As of July 16, one in five cases of COVID-19 was happening in Florida alone as the highly infectious Delta variant ravages the state, a White House official said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said the rate of new COVID-19 cases in the state increased by 58% last week, and that every one of the state’s counties was recording a “high level” of community transmission.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. His spokesperson told The Daily Beast that the governor has been “very clear and consistent in his messaging on COVID-19 vaccines” and is confident that they are “safe for most people and effective in preventing serious illness.”

The spokesperson also noted that DeSantis remained against vaccine passports and mask mandates.

Earlier this month his campaign rolled out T-shirts and koozies reading “Don’t Fauci My Florida” amid the soaring infections.

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