Science

Florida and Texas are seeing more kids under 18 hospitalized with COVID-19 than any other state. Mask mandates in schools are banned.

Summary List PlacementFlorida and Texas have had far more kids under 18 hospitalized with COVID-19 in the last week than any other state, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both states have banned mask mandates in schools, contrary to CDC recommendations. In Florida, a daily average of 54 kids under 18 were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 between August 1 and 9 — the most recent data available. That's up from 42 the week prior. In Texas, roughly 40 kids under 18 were hospitalized per day with COVID-19 during the same period — up from 29 the week...

children covid-19 vaccine

Summary List Placement

Florida and Texas have had far more kids under 18 hospitalized with COVID-19 in the last week than any other state, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both states have banned mask mandates in schools, contrary to CDC recommendations.

In Florida, a daily average of 54 kids under 18 were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 between August 1 and 9 — the most recent data available. That’s up from 42 the week prior. In Texas, roughly 40 kids under 18 were hospitalized per day with COVID-19 during the same period — up from 29 the week before. By comparison, the average number of children below 18 hospitalized with COVID-19 per day in any US state was about 5.

The rising number of pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations parallels the high numbers of hospital admissions in Texas and Florida generally, according to the CDC.

In Texas, 268,328 people in total were hospitalized with COVID-19 for the week ending Monday — and 5,849 of them were under 18. During the same time period, 223,264 Floridians were admitted to hospitals with COVID-19, 4,796 of whom were under 18, the data showed. 

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’

Tensions around school mask mandates

Debates about whether masks should be required in schools have heated up in Texas and Florida in recent weeks.

The CDC recommends that students and staff in K-12 schools wear masks regardless of vaccination status to try stop the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. But Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have banned schools from implementing mask mandates, despite backlash from doctors and school leaders. 

Dr. Andrew Pavia, the chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah, previously told Insider that “the best way to make in-person schooling safe was for all unvaccinated people to wear masks all the time in the classroom, as part of a layered strategy.” 

Kids under 12 aren’t yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, so in the mean time, getting a many adults vaccinated as possible can help protect young people.

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN last month that for now, kids under 12 “depend on the adults and adolescents to get vaccinated in order to slow or halt transmission.” 

In Texas, 45.8% of the population is fully vaccinated, which is below the US’s 50.3% average, according to Johns Hopkins University. In Florida, 51.2% of the population is fully vaccinated.

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