Recently, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that COVID-19 is a lower risk for school children than the seasonal influenza.
PolitiFact researched the claim and rated the statement “Mostly True.” This designation indicates that “the statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.”
PolitiFact found that studies show the number of COVID-related deaths and hospitalizations among children is lower than flu averages.
PolitiFact qualified the rating by stating that “it’s uncertain if these lower rates among children were partly because schools were closed since March and whether those rates will rise as classrooms reopen this fall.”
Data from the from the Florida Department of Health show the state’s COVID-19 mortality rate is 0.02 percent for people 24 and younger which is the same as the influenza mortality rate for this age group.
However, for children 14 and younger, Florida’s COVID-19 mortality rate is 0.009 percent, below the 0.01 percent for flu for that age group.
The CDC estimates there were 480 deaths among U.S. children due to flu in the 2018-19 season, including 136 cases where the virus was confirmed by laboratory testing.
As of mid-August, 90 children died of COVID-19 in the United States, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
What about complications that require hospitalization?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the “risk of complications for healthy children is higher for flu compared to COVID-19.”
During 2018-19 more than 46,000 children were hospitalized for flu and the the hospitalization rate among children 5 to 17 was 39.2 children per 100,000 children.
The CDC reported that the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 is 6 per 100,000 children for 5 to 17.