A 6-year-old has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in Palm Beach County, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The second-youngest to test positive in the state is a 17-year-old male in Hillsborough County, according to Health Department data.
So far, few children have felt the ill effects of the virus, with no deaths of young children reported worldwide as of yet. But older individuals and those with underlying health risks are susceptible to developing more severe symptoms.
The 6-year-old who tested positive was among nearly 100 new cases announced Wednesday morning by state health officials. That child is a Florida resident. Officials say it is unknown whether the infection is travel-related.
Though K-12 schools have been closed in the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday evening that he does not want to close day care.
The latest statewide numbers show 328 have tested positive statewide, with 21 of those positive tests in Palm Beach County.
As Florida and the nation increase testing capacity — which has lagged behind where experts say it could have been by this point — those numbers are expected to increase in the coming days. The increases may be significant.
That lack of testing has led to a lack of information regarding who is carrying the virus, forcing the state and federal government to institute widespread warnings and closures to limit interaction among all individuals as a precaution.
The death rate for those who test positive for the virus has recently sat above 3%. However, those calculations do not include individuals who may have contracted the virus, but are asymptomatic and thus survive without incident. Including those individuals would lower the death rate, but it’s unclear how many such individuals there are worldwide.
Most who do show symptoms develop a fever or cough and may have trouble breathing, though they do recover.
And without a vaccine or reliable way to treat those symptoms, health officials have urged Americans to cut down on social interactions until the virus’s spread is under control.