Mom of Florida 15-Year-Old on Ventilator After Catching COVID-19 Speaks Out: 'I Am Terrified'

Paulina Velasquez's mom spoke to Inside Edition from the Florida hospital room where her daughter is in a medically induced coma. The state is reporting one in five of the nation's new COVID-19 cases.

Three months ago, Paulina Velasquez was celebrating her 15th birthday as a healthy, vibrant teenager. Now she is on a ventilator in a medically induced coma after catching COVID-19

“I am terrified,” her mom told Inside Edition from Paulina’s bedside at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

Florida hospitals are reporting more COVID-19 cases than ever, with many patients like Paulina — young and unvaccinated. One in five of the nation’s new COVID-19 cases are from the state, and only 48% of the state’s population have gotten both shots.

Paulina had planned to get the vaccine this week, but caught the virus before she got the shot.

“I hold her hand and I tell her how much I love her,” Paulina’s mom said.

Tammy Daniel oversees the nursing staff at five Florida hospitals. 

“Our emergency rooms are just packed,” Daniel said. “Most of them — 97 to 99% — are unvaccinated,” Daniel said. “The ones that are getting admitted to the hospital are definitely not vaccinated.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors, especially in communities with low vaccination rates. And come the start of the new school year, every student should wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status.

Related Stories