COVID-19 cases trending younger

A growing number of people are waiting for hours in long lines to get tested for COVID-19 and the number of positive cases is rising, especially among younger people.

A second 17-year-old in Florida died Tuesday from the coronavirus, this time in Lee County. Her death brings a new warning about the danger the virus poses to young people.

Florida reported a record 5,508 cases on Wednesday and many are waiting for a response from Gov. Ron DeSantis, who in his brief appearance Wednesday in Miami, did not address the spike in cases directly. Instead, he echoed what he has said before about more testing equals more cases.

“The message is clear and consistent. We have to trust people to make good decisions … if you follow the guidelines, everything works out fine,” he said.

Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Pacter admitted she didn’t follow the rules when she went to a graduation party. She contracted the virus; so did three of her friends.

“I thought there was no way I could catch this,” she said.

The graduating senior at Barron Collier High School in North Naples said the virus hit her hard.

“That Saturday at two in the morning, I woke up unable to breathe and I was coughing. My dad listened to my lungs … sounded like there was fluid in my lungs.”

Rebecca said she’s going to recover and she knows she’s lucky. Two Florida teenagers – both also 17 – died in the last week from COVID-19.

Dr. Bindu Mayi, a microbiology professor at Nova Southeastern University, said that unless things change with people not following guidelines, the virus will continue its spread.

“When we do see the spike in cases, it’s just a matter of time before we see a spike in hospitalizations and then a spike in deaths,” she said.

“There isn’t that fear that keeps them at home so they are out mingling in the community and so the chances of picking up the virus from others who are asymptomatic yet contagious goes up.”

Nationwide, there have been 125 deaths of people ages 15 to 24. In Florida, nine deaths among ages 25 to 34 were reported in April. Today, that figure has doubled.

DeSantis announced the state will debut a public service campaign “soon” to constantly remind everyone of all ages to avoid the “three Cs” – closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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