Summary List Placement
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.
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.
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.