Coronavirus: First known child death in US

People line up to get a test at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York, on March 24, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The first known death of a child due to the novel coronavirus in the United States was reported on Tuesday (March 24), despite the disease not typically proving severe for juveniles.

The death of a "youth under the age of 18" from Lancaster, just north of Los Angeles, was confirmed in a statement by county health officials.

"Covid-19 does not discriminate by age, race or income level," said Los Angeles County public health director Barbara Ferrer, using the scientific term for, the disease caused by the Sars-coV-2 virus.

No further information was given, including the victim's age or sex, or whether they had other health conditions.

Multiple studies have found Covid-19 disproportionately affects older patients and those with underlying conditions.

A recent Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report found juveniles "appear to have milder Covid-19 illness," with no intensive care admissions or deaths in the US as of March 16.

"Similar to reports from other countries, this finding suggests that the risk for serious disease and death from Covid-19 is higher in older age groups," it found.

Only two known cases of minors dying from the disease in China have been recorded. In one case, an infant had a pre-existing intestinal condition. The other's situation was not known.

"The risk for serious disease and death in Covid-19 cases among persons in the United States increases with age," the CDC report added.

California has been one of the worst-hit US states during the pandemic.

Los Angeles County - which is home to 10 million residents - has confirmed 662 cases of coronavirus, with at least 11 deaths.

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