By Rosa Flores, Sara Weisfeldt and Holly Yan, CNN

Updated 2:04 PM ET, Mon July 27, 2020

Just weeks before schools must open across Florida, the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations due to Covid-19 have surged.

On July 16, the state had a total of 23,170 children ages 17 and under who had tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Florida Department of Health. By July 24, that number jumped to 31,150.
That's a 34% increase in new cases among children in eight days.
And more children in Florida are requiring hospitalization. As of July 16, 246 children had been hospitalized with coronavirus. By July 24, that number had jumped to 303.

That's a 23% increase in child Covid-19 hospitalizations in eight days.

The surges in child Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations come amid rampant debate over whether children should return to classrooms this fall, or if they should continue remote learning.

They also directly contradict US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' claims that children are "stoppers of the disease" who "don't get it and transmit it themselves."

Researchers in South Korea found that young people between ages 10 and 19 transmit the virus just as easily as adults.​​​​​​​