A doctor helping to care for a Florida teen who has been in a coma while battling COVID-19 said she is entering the recovery stage, bringing hope to her devastated relatives.
“It’s very encouraging,” Dr. Jennifer Davis, who is helping to care for 15-year-old Paulina Velasquez at Broward Health Main Campus, told Local10.com. “Probably the first week of her treatment she was very, very ill, unstable I would say, and now she’s definitely on the recovery stage.”
Velasquez and her mother, Agnes, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, NBCMiami.com reported, with the teen entering the hospital on July 17. Agnes Velasquez, who had a milder case of the virus, had received the vaccine, but her daughter did not.
The teen’s brother told CBS12.com that his sister had told him she wanted to get the shot.
“It was a real shock,” Tomas Velasquez, the teen’s brother, told NBCMiami.com. “There were no preexisting medical conditions with her, she was a perfectly healthy 15-year-old, just someone who loved life. It was just a shock to all of us.”
Her family told local media outlets that the teen always wore a mask in public and was careful about exposure.
Experts have been warning about increasing cases of COVID-19 among teens and younger children amid rapid spread of the delta variant. On Tuesday, an Infectious Disease Society of America expert advised all K-12 schools to enforce universal mask mandates, hours ahead of an update issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that recommended the same.
Dr. Tina Tan, a member of the IDSA board of directors, noted that only 30% of teens ages 12-17 have received a COVID-19 vaccine so far, leaving a high number of their classmates vulnerable to infection.
Davis, the doctor involved with the teen’s treatment, told CBS12.com that during the first wave of COVID-19, hospitals were not seeing pediatric patients “this sick.”
Local10.com reported that the teen was treated with steroids, blood thinners and Remdesivir.