Researchers and health officials are still trying to understand the effects of the virus on children and their impact on its spread

By Maria Pasquini
August 24, 2020 11:49 AM
Advertisement
Credit: John Moore/Getty

A 6-year-old girl in Florida has died from coronavirus complications, becoming the youngest in the state to die from the virus, according to health officials.

The Hillsborough County resident’s death was reported by the Florida Department of Health on Friday. No additional information about how she contracted the virus — or whether she suffered from any pre-existing medical conditions — was made available to the public.

Across the state, over 48,000 children have contracted COVID-19, nearly 600 have been hospitalized and eight have died as of Saturday, according to the health department. Prior to the 6-year-old’s death, a 9-year-old girl who lived in Putnam County had been the youngest confirmed fatality in the state.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance regarding the increasing rate of cases in children.

Between March and July, both the number and rate of cases among children have been “steadily increasing," according to the CDC.

In a recent report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association, over 97,000 children are reported to have tested positive for the coronavirus in July. Researchers also reported that there was a 40 percent increase in child cases in the last two weeks of July.

The report also found that of the out of almost 5 million reported COVID-19 cases in the United States, 338,982 have been children.

RELATED VIDEO: Teacher Makes Final Delivery After Preparing 7,500 Lunches for Students

Researchers and health officials are still trying to understand the effects of the virus on children and the role they play in its spread — especially as schools around the country grapple with how to reopen schools safely.

In the CDC’s latest guidelines, it cited recent studies that have found children can carry higher levels of the virus than adults, and that the household transmission “was high” for patients between 10 and 19 years of age.

Although there have been fewer cases in children, the CDC noted that the number may be impacted by the fact that schools around the country have been closed for months.

Last month, Florida surpassed New York to become the state with the second-highest official coronavirus case count, trailing behind California.

As of Monday morning, there have been at least 600,563 confirmed cases and 10,324 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.