Coronavirus pandemic

US baby dies from Covid-19 in rare case

WASHINGTON • An infant has died from the Covid-19 illness, officials in Illinois in the United States said, marking an extremely rare case of juvenile death in the global pandemic.

At a news conference last Saturday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said an infant was among the fatalities linked to the coronavirus over the past 24 hours.

The state's Department of Public Health said the child who died in Chicago was younger than one year old and had tested positive for Covid-19. "There has never before been a death associated with Covid-19 in an infant," the department's director Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. "A full investigation is under way to determine the cause of death."

Mr Pritzker said he was shaken by the news. "It's especially sorrowful for the family of this very small child, for the years stolen from this infant. We should grieve."

Last week, top French health official Jerome Salomon said a 16-year-old girl had died in the Ile-de-France region of Paris and its surroundings. "Severe forms (of coronavirus) with the young are very rare," Mr Salomon noted.

In the US state of California last week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said that a teenager had tested positive for Covid-19 and died. But the agency added that the case is complex and there may be another explanation.

Multiple studies have found the virus disproportionately affects older patients and those with underlying conditions.

The US has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, at more than 125,000, although its death toll of over 2,200 is still below that of other countries including Italy, Spain and China. More than 450 US deaths occurred over the 24-hour period prior to last Saturday afternoon.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2020, with the headline 'US baby dies from Covid-19 in rare case'. Print Edition | Subscribe