More information about the young man was not released. The Children’s Hospital of the Valley in Madeira confirmed that the patient was being treated there before he died.
“The death of this patient reaffirms that children – and no age group – are immune to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the medical facility said in a statement. “It is imperative, now more than ever, that we all work together to prevent further spread of this disease. Our children do not deserve less.”;
The death comes as coronavirus cases in Central California have risen steadily over the past several weeks, and as local politicians in Fresno County are debating whether children should return to school for in-person learning. .
Valley Children’s Hospital officials said the children are returning to campus while COVID-19 transmission levels remain high in the area.
The Central Valley is the state’s leading agricultural region and has recently become one of California’s hot spots for the virus.
It is extremely rare for children to die with coronavirus. As of mid-July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 228 children had died of the disease in the United States, less than 0.2% of the nation’s deaths.
In California, more than 9,000 people died from the virus, and three-quarters were 65 and older. Only about 9% of California’s confirmed virus cases are children, and few have suffered severe enough conditions for hospitalization.
Scientists are still unsure why children do not appear to be as affected by the virus as adults.
In March, Los Angeles County officials said the 17-year-old died of the virus. At the time it was thought to be the first death of a baby, but days later local health officials abandoned the initial finding, saying it was possible he had died from something else. County health officials said the case should be evaluated by the Centers for Disease Control.
Rex Parris, the mayor of Lancaster, said the boy from his hometown died of septic shock after being admitted to hospital with respiratory problems.
How likely children are to contract and spread the virus is a key question as leaders in California and elsewhere determine whether and how to safely reopen schools this fall. Most California counties are now on a state monitoring list due to rising virus cases and may not reopen schools for in-person instruction unless they are off the list. for 14 days.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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