A South Florida teenager is in a medically-induced coma and has been placed on a ventilator after being diagnosed with COVID-19, according to local news outlet WPLG.
Paulina Velasquez, 15, reportedly planned to get vaccinated but hadn't received her first shot. Her vaccinated mother tested positive for the virus but only experienced mild symptoms.
"I just want to tell people this virus is not a joke, it's a real thing," Paulina's brother Tomas Velasquez told WPLG. "Before this, my sister was 100% healthy. Fifteen-year-old girl, always wore her mask, never took it off in public and this still managed to happen."
While children historically have not been hit that hard by the virus, Paulina's case is a reminder that children are not immune and severe illness in children due to COVID is still an occurrence.
The teen's family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for medical expenses.
"It's very hard, my heart is broken into a million pieces," said Paulina's mom. "I keep asking God, why, why my daughter, why not me in that bed?"
According to FloridaPolitics.com, COVID-19 cases are surging in South Florida's tri-county area. But now that vaccines are widely available, the death toll has not reached the highs seen last summer.
Family prays for 15-year-old girl in ICU after testing positive for COVID-19 www.youtube.com