A 17-year-old boy who was announced as the first American child to die from coronavirus may have succumbed to complications from septic shock – as it is revealed his Uber driver father has also tested positive and is currently sick.
Health officials in Los Angeles County announced on Tuesday that the teenager, who lived in Lancaster north of Los Angeles, had died of coronavirus – making the first fatal COVID-19 case involving a person under the age of 18 across the US.
In California there are now 2,539 confirmed cases and 51 deaths due to coronavirus.
Just hours later, after California Governor Gavin Newsom cited the boy’s death as evidence the virus can strike anyone, health officials said there may be an ‘alternate explanation’ and that his death would be further investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
‘Though early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality,’ health officials said.
The teen is not thought to have had any underlying health conditions until he recently started suffering from respiratory problems.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said the boy was treated in hospital but was released without being tested for coronavirus. He was then admitted to a second hospital where he died from septic shock, a reaction to a widespread infection that can cause dangerously low blood pressure and organ failure.
The teen’s positive coronavirus test did not come back until after his death.
His father, who is an Uber driver, has also since tested positive for coronavirus and is currently sick.
The mayor said he doesn’t doubt that the teen died from complications of COVID-19, saying: ‘We’re the first city in the nation to lose a child and that is unbearable to me.’