Georgia boy, 7, dies of COVID-19 amid concerns over reopening schools

The Savannah native, a young Black child, is the youngest person in the state to die from the disease

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As the state of Georgia prepares to reopen schools, a 7-year-old boy has died from complications of coronavirus. 

The boy, from near Savannah, was Black. He is the youngest person in the state to have died from the disease.

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According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the boy had no chronic health conditions. The Department of Public Health did not list additional information. Georgia’s Department of Public Health states that half of all of the state’s COVID-19 deaths are African Americans, who only make up one-third of the population. 

Georgia has over 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and surpassed 4,000 deaths just yesterday. As a “red zone” location, it is one of 21 other states to have more than 100 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people last week. The Peach State has had more than 10% of the diagnostic tests given out to citizens come back as positive.

The state has been seeing an increase in week-over-week cases, and while hospitalizations have declined some, deaths are increasing. 

McClure Health Science High School
McClure Health Science High School

Gwinnett County schools have reversed course and are starting classes with online learning after 260 employees tested positive or were exposed to the virus before the start of classes. 

Dr. Harry J. Heiman, a professor at the Georgia State University School of Public Health told the AJC that the boy’s death is “a tragic reminder that this is a very serious disease and serious for anyone who contracts it at any age.”

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“We need to think very seriously about what policies and practices need to be put in place to ensure the safety of our children,” Heiman said. “That includes recognizing that given the current level of spread in our communities it is not safe to reopen schools to in-person instruction.”

Governor Brian Kemp has continued to push back against a statewide mask mandate. He sued Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms over her executive order requiring masks in the city. The suit was later dropped after national backlash. 

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