First Infant Death from COVID-19 Reported in US

Nikki De Guzman

The first infant death from COVID-19 infection has been reported in the United States on Saturday (28 March), in what is considered an extremely rare case of juvenile death in the coronavirus pandemic.

Infant Death from COVID-19

At a news conference, Governor JB Pritzker said child under the age of 1 was among the fatalities linked to the new coronavirus over the previous 24 hours. He added that an investigation was underway to determine the cause of death and whether the infant had other health issues.

“A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death. We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us,” Dr Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health said. 

“If you haven’t been paying attention, maybe this is your wake-up call,” Ezike added.

Around the globe, the risk of death and severe illness from COVID-19 is greater for older adults and people pre-existing medical conditions.

In Singapore, nearly half of the coronavirus cases here are senior citizens aged 50 and above. The three COVID-19-related deaths reported in the republic as of 29 March all involve patients aged 70 and above. The patients died of complications due to the coronavirus infection.

Image source: iStock

The virus, in most cases, causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing that often requires being hospitalised.

Coronavirus in Infants, Children

Infant Death from COVID-19

A medical worker in a hazmat suit is looking after the baby, who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. | Image source: Handout, Wuhan Children’s Hospital/Weibo

According to reports, children have made up a small fraction of coronavirus cases worldwide, reaffirming that the COVID-19 virus does not discriminate by age. 

A letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Chinese researchers earlier this month reported the death of a 10-month-old with the virus infection. The infant reported had a bowel blockage and organ failure, and died four weeks after being hospitalized.

Separate research published in the journal Pediatrics traced 2,100 infected children in China and noted one death, a 14-year old. The study found less than 6% of children were seriously ill.

Cases of COVID-19 infection involving Children in Singapore

In Singapore, cases of coronavirus infection involving among infants and children have been recorded in the past week. On Thursday (27 March), four kids—aged 2, 6, 11 and 13—and a one-year-old infant tested positive for the virus. Another one-year-old infant tested positive for coronavirus on Friday (28 March) and among the 70 new cases confirmed here. 

But Singapore has also recorded recoveries among earlier reported cases of infants and children who contracted the virus. 

A 1-year-old boy has recovered from the virus infection in what seems to be the fastest recovery for any COVID-19 cases here. He tested positive of the virus on 16 February and recovered two days later. He has since discharged from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).

Another reported infant recovery is the 6-month-old baby boy—Singapore’s youngest COVID-19 patient to date. He tested positive for COVID-19 infection on 5 February and was discharged 17 days later.

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