The headlines these days are all about whether kids should or shouldn’t be required to wear masks in schools. For the purpose of this article, we’re not going to address whether they should or shouldn’t. But we do want to address some of the facts versus the hyperbole.
COVID DEATHS FOR KIDS UNDER 16
According to the Florida Department of Health, over a quarter million children under the age of 16 have at some point been confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19. As of this writing, only 8 children have been reported by the Florida Department of Health to have died due to COVID-19 in the State of Florida.
Florida Department of Health Stats:
- 289,419 kids under 16 have been infected with COVID during the pandemic
- 8 kids under 16 have died from COVID-19 during the pandemic
According to 2019 CDC Data Compiled by WorldLifeExpectancy.com, here were the leading causes of death for children under the age of 15 in the State of Florida:
- 297 kids died from congenital anomalies
- 287 kids died from low birth weight
- 124 kids died from “other injuries”
- 90 babies died from birth trauma
- 62 kids died from road traffic accidents
- 62 kids died from drowning
- 43 kids died from homicide
- 32 kids died from endocrine disorders
- 26 kids died from suicide
- 16 kids died from diarrhoeal diseases
- 13 kids died from Leukemia
- 12 kids died from Influenza and Pneumonia
Based on this data, kids are nearly 8 times more likely to die in a road traffic accident than COVID. Drowning is another killer with 8 times more deaths than COVID. Three times more kids die from suicide than from COVID. Heck, Influenza and Pneumonia killed 50% more kids than COVID.
Here’s the point. Kids are more at risk of dying in a car accident on their drive to and from school than they are of dying from COVID. Are we going to stop driving our kids to school?
Will the masks help in school? Yes. They will help the kids who wear them properly. They won’t do anything for the kids (and teachers / staff) that wear the masks like chin straps. They won’t do anything for the boys and girls who discover their first back to school kiss. (Trust me. No board of education mask mandate is going to stop that from happening.) A mask mandate won’t stop the spread of the disease of the kids in buses. (When have you seen a bus driver in full control of the kids on the bus?) Masks don’t do anything to protect the spread while kids are having lunch with their friends.
Whether or not you believe or don’t believe in the mask mandate, it almost doesn’t matter. Kids are going to be kids. They’ll take off their masks to eat and drink. They’ll take off their masks by accident. They’ll take off their masks to speak more clearly in class. They’ll forget to bring their mask. The mask will break while in class. The mask will come off when taking selfies.
Folks, you can mandate masks all you want. It doesn’t matter. Kids will be kids.
Is the mask going to put an end to the pandemic? No. Of course not.
The vaccine will ultimately put an end to this pandemic. Either that or herd immunity.
Our recommendation: Get vaccinated and protect those who are truly the most vulnerable to this disease. The seniors and those with underlying conditions.
And just in case you forgot what the COVID-19 mortality rate is by age group, here’s the latest data from the State of Florida:
- 9% of those 65 + who caught COVID have died in Florida
- 2% of those 60 – 64 who caught COVID have died in Florida
- 1% of those 50 – 59
- 0.3% for those 40 – 49
- 0.1% for those 30 – 39
- 0.02% for those 16 -29
- 0.002% for those under 16
To put it into perspective, we lost 59 seniors to COVID-19 at Fair Havens, right here in Miami Springs. By comparison, the State of Florida confirmed 289,419 cases of COVID-19 in kids under 16, but only 8 have died. All 8 deaths are incredibly tragic and we don’t want to downplay it.
But those are the kinds of risks I accept every time my child rides a bike. It’s a small risk, but there’s a risk. Every time we drive our kids to school there’s a risk.
Our goal is to share the facts with the community and not the hyperbole of social media.
We are also blessed to be in the United States where not just one vaccine, but multiple vaccines have been available to us in record time. Anyone 12 and older can get the vaccine…and get it for free.
We live in a free country, so it’s your choice whether to get the vaccine or not. However, we highly recommend getting the vaccine as that is what will ultimately put this pandemic behind us.
As you can see below, the percentage of people vaccinated correlates with the risk factor. Those at highest risk of dying from COVID (people 65 and older) are also the group with the highest vaccination rate. 85% of those 65 and older are vaccinated in Florida. That is wonderful as it has saved lives.
For the youngest group eligible to be vaccinated (those 12 – 19) you can see there’s only a 41% vaccination rate in the State of Florida. That means 59% of the youth between the ages of 12 – 19 have not been vaccinated. If you really want to protect your children, please get them vaccinated if they are age eligible.
For parents who have kids under 12 and want to get them vaccinated, there are reports that Pfizer will be submitting a request for Emergency Use Authorization for a vaccine for for kids 5 to 11 years of age by the end of September.