PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – One of the only bright spots about the COVID-19 pandemic has been its relatively small impact on young people, especially kids.
Now that dynamic appears to be changing.
A month ago, Florida health officials had reported only one death among people younger than 25. Over the next two weeks, four more young people died. Now it’s 12, including two deaths in kids younger than 12.
There’s a similar story in young adults.
As of June 1, there had been 52 deaths among people aged 25- 44 in the first five months of this pandemic. That number has more than doubled — 106 deaths now among that age group — in slightly more than a month.
Just yesterday, state health officials reported three deaths in Pinellas County between the ages of 32 and 47.
“Perfectly healthy people have died of COVID,” said Dr. Jill Roberts, associate professor at USF School of Public Health.
She also pointed out that death is the worst outcome — but there are plenty of other health and financial issues that could result from becoming sick with COVID-19.
“Death is the end point we’re most concerned with, but that’s not the only end point,” said Dr. Roberts. “We have young people who’ve gotten sick who are reporting long-lasting health issues. They’re still having trouble breathing. They still had organ failure that occurred.”
“Not to mention the cost of treatment or missing work,” Dr. Roberts said. “If you become sick, you’re not going back to your workplace. Can you afford four weeks before you can get a negative COVID test to go back to work? Can you go without a paycheck for four weeks?”
Dr. Roberts said prevention is still the best medicine — wear a mask when you can’t social distance, especially indoors.
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