Corpus Christi residents Benjamin and Ashley Carrizales say they were shocked to learn that their 3-month son Samuel had contracted the coronavirus, a disease originally believed to primarily target the elderly.
“It’s just the unknown. You don’t know how the virus is going to affect them, so that’s probably the scary part. You just don’t know.” Ashley told Inside Edition.
But the little boy was far from alone — 85 babies in Nueces County, Texas, have tested positive for coronavirus since March — with 60 of the cases from July alone. Nueces has the highest rate of positive cases among all ages in the state.
“These children, they haven’t built up their immune systems yet, and so we need to take extra precautions with this age group,” said Annette Rodriguez, Director of the Nueces County Health Department. “If you have a stroller, close the stroller up, put a blanket over it, use some type of protection without putting a mask on your baby. But also wear your mask.”
Thankfully, Samuel had a mild case. In nearby Cameron County, Vanesa Martinez said she was terrified when her 6-month-old daughter Valentina tested positive and became severely ill.
“She was losing oxygen, she wasn’t breathing, she was very weak,” Martinez told Inside Edition.
Valentina is recovering, but the Centers for Disease Control warns that “infants may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared with older children,” although the information is still “limited.”
“It does surprise that so many infants are positive,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner. “That number of babies being positive requires further investigation.”