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Coronavirus cases in people younger than 14 rising in Hillsborough Co., data shows

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Data from the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County shows coronavirus cases spiking in some age groups. Perhaps the most notable is the spike in cases in people younger than 14 years old.

According to DOH stats, seven-day average percentages went up from 5.53 percent on June 24 to 6.99 percent over the past weekend.

“The why is difficult to say. The most likely reason it’s going up is just the general increase in the number of disease that’s around,” said Dr. Joseph Perno.

Perno is the chief medical officer at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

“We know that children aren’t just the most hygienic, for lack of a better term, and that’s why it can spread,” Dr. Perno added. “Then you throw in the fact kids, even more so than adults, are crammed into tight spaces together – whether a daycare setting, a school setting, a lot of people in a close setting – and viruses love that.”

In addition, he said, there is a factor that causes concern among pediatricians that seems somewhat common in childhood coronavirus cases.

“And we’ve seen across the country: children who get exposed to coronavirus, anywhere from two to six weeks later, can get an overwhelming inflammatory reaction and get quite sick from that,” Dr. Perno said.

As with adults, kids should also follow the rules to stay healthy.

“I think it stresses the need for all the things we’ve been saying from the beginning, which I know sounds like a broken record: wearing a mask, washing your hands, avoiding crowded spaces, social distancing. I think now more than ever it’s important for us,” he said.

Those in the community are split when it comes to reopening public schools as cases rise.

“They need to learn and go socialize and be in school with their friends. I think that’s self-evident why school is good for them as opposed to sitting home all the time,” said Mitchell Fraley, a Tampa resident.

8 On Your Side reached out to the Hillsborough County School District and spokeswoman Erin Maloney said leaders will unveil a plan on Thursday outlining the measures in place as schools across the county get set to reopen.

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