More than 80 children under 2 years old, most of them younger than 1 year old, have tested positive for the coronavirus in one Texas county, a local public health official announced, as the United States set a single-day record in the tally of new cases.
The public health director in Nueces County on the Texas Gulf Coast said 85 children under 2 years old, including 52 younger than a year old, have tested positive for the virus.
“These babies have not even had their first birthdays yet,” director Annette Rodriguez said Friday of the infants in the group. “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.”
Rodriguez initially said at a meeting Friday that a review of coronavirus statistics showed that 85 infants have tested positive. She clarified this on Saturday to say that total also includes children between the ages of 1 and 2 years old. The numbers are taken from testing that started on March 21, 2020.
The health director added that she believes it is hard for families to isolate such young children and that family members are passing the virus on to each other.
Fewer than 10 of the infants have been hospitalized, she said.
The Nueces County medical examiner, Adel Shaker, told NBC News on Saturday that a 6-week-old boy who died last week tested positive for the virus. Shaker said he has not determined if COVID-19 was the cause of death and is running more tests to find out.
Her announcement came as the U.S. set a single-day record with 75,775 newly-reported cases of the virus, according to NBC News’ tally. The death toll in the country has now passed 140,000.
Globally, more than 14 million people have tested positive for the virus, and more than 600,000 have died, according to data by Johns Hopkins University and NBC News.
In India, the number of cases has surpassed one million, with 26,273 deaths, according to the counry’s health ministry website.
And, in Latin America and the Caribbean, the death toll has surpassed that in the U.S. and Canada for the first time. Only Europe has recorded more fatalities. Brazil, where more than two million cases of coronavirus have been reported, could have the world’s highest number of deaths from the virus by late this month.
Latin America accounts for over 50 percent of global deaths even though it accounts for just 8 percent of the world’s population.
In terms of confirmed cases, Brazil is number two globally, just behind the United States. Peru now has the world’s fifth highest number of confirmed cases. Mexico comes in seventh.
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean said this week that the region’s per-capita gross domestic product is likely to drop by 9.1 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic, The Associated Press reported.
Such a drop would take the region back to GDP levels of 2010, something the U.N. commission called “a lost decade.”
This is a developing story; check back for updates.