Health officials worry about long-term effects of COVID-19 on kids

Published: July 17, 2020 6:15 PM EDT
Updated: July 17, 2020 6:35 PM EDT

More than one-third of all kids tested for COVID-19 in the state are testing positive. It’s even higher in Lee County at 46%.

Now, some health officials are sounding the alarm about the potential longer-term effects of this virus on our kids.

Health experts say we still have a lot to learn.

A warning from Doctor Alina Alonso, the director of the Department of Health Palm Beach County: Just because you don’t see any COVID-19 symptoms in a child doesn’t mean damage hasn’t been done.

“And while many of these especially younger children are asymptomatic when you take x-rays of their lungs, down in Miami and other places across the country, they’re seeing that there is damage to the lungs in these asymptomatic children.”

While Alonso says there’s proof asymptomatic children are suffering lung damage now, she and other warn we also need to start thinking about the lasting consequences these kids may have to live with.

“We may have to deal with this virus for decades because of not just the survivors coming back with consequences, but also those who were the silent, infected individuals,” said Dr. Bindu Mayi, professor of microbiology at NSU’s College of Medical Sciences.

On Thursday, when asked about the issue, Governor Ron DeSantis cited a lack of studies and evidence as a reason we shouldn’t be too concerned yet.

It would be irresponsible for me to say, ‘There will never be any long term’ because we just don’t know. But it’s also problematic to say in 20 years, there’s going to be all of these problems because we just don’t know that.

Instead, the governor says we should stick to the proven facts, like focusing on the best strategy to avoid infection: wearing a mask and social distancing.

Experts say one reason we know so little about the virus is because of how it spreads throughout the body. It can impact multiple organs and body systems in different ways in different people.