More COVID Cases Among Children But Hospitalizations Remain Low, Miami Doctor Says

The number of COVID-19 cases in children has increased in recent weeks in Florida and throughout the country.

Health experts believe an increase in testing, a rise in overall infections, and increased movement among children have contributed to a spike in the number of infections.

Doctors agree most children with the virus will have either no symptoms or mild ones, but if the child is Black or Hispanic, they run the risk of developing more severe symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“There is a subset of patients who have predisposed medical problems, risk factors for severe conditions who may end up staying a few days, weeks, or more,” said Dr. Keith Meyers at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami.

Similar to cases in adults, pre-existing conditions that include obesity, hypertension, and diabetes can complicate a child’s recovery.

“The children infectivity rate may vary a bit, but again, the rate of children being admitted to the hospital has been pretty steady, it’s been pretty low, which is good news,” Dr. Meyers added.

According to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, approximately 240 children have been admitted for inpatient care or for observation since the start of the pandemic. There have been two deaths and six cases of children with multi system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a rare but serious complication associated with COVID-19.

Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Democrat, said she had a call with hospital officials on Tuesday and said a part of the conversation was around the re-opening of schools.

“I asked if there were any underlying conditions (in kids) and many of them have been healthy,” she said.

Health experts worry the bigger risk is that kids will return to class and the virus will spread.

“Families who live with extended family member, the elderly with medical conditions, the risk is those kids bringing the virus back to the household,” said Dr. Meyers.