Kids ages 12 to 19 are leading other age groups in Florida in the rate at which they test positive for COVID-19 — a sobering data point that comes as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) fights tooth and nail against school mask mandates.
Children in that age group who are tested have a positivity rate of 25 percent, per the Tampa Bay Times. And kids 12 and younger have a rate of 23 percent.
The disturbing numbers come amid DeSantis and Florida state officials’ relentless attacks on school districts that have bucked the governor’s ban on requiring students and school staff to wear masks without an opt-out option except for those with medical conditions.
More than five counties have implemented mask mandates despite the ban, including Sarasota County, the first GOP-lead county in the state to do so. Leon County Schools became the latest district to establish a mandate on Sunday.
The school districts’ defiance of DeSantis’ order has prompted harsh tactics from state-level officials.
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced on Friday that Broward and Alachua counties had 48 hours to reverse their mask mandates before the state would begin withholding the salaries of the school board members who voted for the policies.