First infant death tied to coronavirus reported in Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker tells the community that he was affected by the difficult news: 'I was shaken'

newborn baby under ultraviolet lamp in the incubator

A baby from Illinois has become the first infant to die from COVID-19 in the United States.

According to ABC 6, Illinois officials are investigating whether there were any underlying issues with the baby but have determined that the infant tested positive with the respiratory disease.

READ MORE: First U.S. minor dead of coronavirus in Los Angeles

“I know how difficult this news can be … I was shaken,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said during a news conference.

“If you haven’t been paying attention, maybe this is your wake-up call,” added Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the state’s Department of Public Health Director.

Ezike said everyone must do everything they can “to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us,” according to ABC 6.

Illinois is the eighth-highest ranked state among coronavirus cases, registering 3,491 confirmed coronaviruses cases as of Saturday. In that same time period, Illinois has seen 47 COVID-19 deaths, including 13 deaths on Saturday, according to The New York Post.

Although multiple infants under one year old have died globally, Saturday’s death in Illinois was the first reported infant death in the United States, authorities said.

READ MORE: Retired nurse becomes first COVID-19 fatality in Illinois

During the press conference, Pritzker told reporters that health officials say the mortality rate among infants is very low but wanted residents to know it is still possible. Risks are exponentially greater with older adults and people with underlying health issues, the governor added.

A letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Chinese researchers seems to back up those claims. In reporting the COVID-19 death of a 10-month-old, the researchers found the infant had a blocked bowel and organ failure. Other research published in Pediatrics found that only one 14-year-old child, out of 2,100 infected children in China, had died from COVID-19.

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