85 Texas babies, most younger than 1, infected with coronavirus as health officials urge people to wear masks

Health officials are also appealing to people to practice social distancing to curb transmission


                            85 Texas babies, most younger than 1, infected with coronavirus as health officials urge people to wear masks
(Getty Images)

Over 80 babies, a majority below the age of 1, have tested positive for Covid-19 in a Texas county, according to a health official who is now appealing to people to wear face masks and practice social distancing for curbing transmission. 

The public health director in Nueces County, Texas, said that 85 children under 2 years old, including 52 who are younger than 1, have tested positive for the new coronavirus. Less than 10 of the infants have been hospitalized. A majority of the babies have had influenza-like symptoms and recovered on their own. The figures were released in the hopes that it would prompt more people to wear masks and follow physical distancing measures.

“We currently have 85 babies under the age of one year in Nueces county that have all tested positive for Covid-19. These babies have not even had their first birthday yet. Please help us to stop the spread of this disease. Stay socially distanced from others, stay protected. Wear a mask when in public and for everyone else please do your best to stay home,” said Annette Rodriguez, director of public health for Corpus Christi Nueces County.

Many of the babies who tested positive in Nueces County seem to have been infected from close family members who had the virus, said Rodriguez. According to the official, the number of infections among babies in the county reflects a rate similar to the one health officials are seeing among adults. 

Many of the babies who tested positive in Nueces County seem to have been infected from close family members who had Covid-19. (Getty Images)

 

Last week, Nueces County medical examiner Adel Shaker said that a baby boy, less than 6 months old, had tested positive for Covid-19 and died. “The patient was male under 6 months of age. Our deepest condolences go out to his parents and family. Further information is not being released for privacy and confidentiality reasons,” the Nueces County Public Health District said in a statement.
 
Texas is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, and Nueces County has the fastest growth in new cases on average of any other metropolitan county, said officials. According to official figures, 8,171 coronavirus cases have been reported from Nueces County as of July 18. In Texas, 317,730 cases of coronavirus have been reported, and 3,865 have died in the Covid-19 pandemic as of July 18. 

Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order asking all Texans to wear face coverings in public to control the spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. The exceptions were any person younger than 10 years of age, and a person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering, among others. Abbott issued another executive order restricting outdoor gatherings to no more than 10 people. Both the July 2 orders were a major reversal for Abbott, who had pushed Texas’s aggressive reopening of the state economy and had previously said the government could not order individuals to wear masks.

The governor has also ordered bars to close again and restaurants to reduce seating capacity. The June 26 order mandated that restaurants cut back on dine-in service, operating at only 50% capacity. Outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people must now have the approval of local officials, and commercial rafting and tubing businesses were also shut down by the action. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and enhance public health,” said Abbott.

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