CORRECTED: 85 young children test positive for COVID-19 in Texas county since March
Eighty-five children under the age of two in a single Texas county have tested positive for the coronavirus since March 21, according to Texas health officials.
Nueces County’s public health director Annette Rodriguez said at a meeting Friday that a review of the county’s coronavirus data unveiled the statistic. Although she initially said the children were all under the age of one, she clarified on Saturday that the number includes children up to two years old.
“These babies have not even had their first birthdays yet,” Rodriguez initially said on Friday. “Please help us to stop the spread of this disease. Stay social distanced from others; stay protected. Wear a mask when in public and for everyone else, please do your best to stay home.”
Specifically, the county had seen 52 positive COVID-19 tests among children aged under 12 months, and 33 among children aged between 12 and 24 months since March 21, according to Rodriguez.
Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales also clarified in a Saturday statement that the numbers are from the start of the pandemic and did not occur in a single week, as was previously reported.
“On Friday, July 17, during a press conference, a spokesperson mentioned that 85 infants under the age of one had tested positive for coronavirus. This number reflects the cumulative total of positive tests for infants under the age of 1 since the beginning of testing in mid-March, which has resulted in 8,171 positive test results,” the statement reads.
“For context, the spokesperson was using that statistic to illustrate that no one is naturally immune to this virus. While the elderly and those with existing medical conditions are at greater risk of illness and death, anyone can get the virus, from the elderly to infants, and without regard to race, gender, or economic status. The number was used to illustrate this point,” it continues. “However, without this context, stating this number during our press conference led many to believe that we had a sudden surge in infants under the age of one testing positive. We have NOT had a sudden surge of 85 infants testing positive.”
The statistics comes as Texas experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, recording 10,000 new cases per day for several days in a row this week. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has issued a statewide mask mandate to try to blunt the spread of the pandemic.
Texas is one of several states, mostly across the south and west, to see spikes in cases after initially flattening the curve, raising fears of a broader, nationwide outbreak later in the year and renewing worries of a second economic downturn.
Updated on July 22 at 2:30 p.m.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included incorrect information and an incorrect headline as a result of the initial statements from Texas officials.