COVID-19 related death claims life of 2-month-old in Michigan

The infant reportedly died of gastroschisis with coronavirus as a contributing factor

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A family in Michigan is mourning the loss of their infant son due to complications related to the gastroschisis, which were exacerbated by COVID-19. 

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Earlier this week, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun announced that the newborn had died from the virus. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately give specific details about what led up to the child’s death because of confidentiality concerns. 

However, by Friday, reports emerged from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner stating that the baby died of gastroschisis, a birth defect that causes a baby’s bowels to develop outside the body, according to Fox 2 Detroit.

The latest death of the 2-month-old in Michigan further dispels common misconceptions that children cannot contract the coronavirus. 

The chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health explained at a press conference Wednesday that the chances of children getting the virus are smaller but emphasized children are not immune. 

“Studies show that while children are less likely to get severely ill from COVID-19, they still can,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said. “And they can also pass it on to others including adults who are more likely to get sick or ill from COVID-19.” 

As of today, about 800 children across the United States received diagnoses with multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, also known as MIS-C. It’s associated with COVID-19. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal (gut) pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. 

The CDC says it does not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with COVID-19.

coronavirus pandemic
Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly puts a cotton swab in a sampling tube as he takes a coronavirus (COVID-19) test during a preview of a new COVID-19 testing site inside Cashman Center on August 3, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The last known coronavirus-related child death happened in April. That’s when 5-year-old Skylar Herbert of Detroit died from the deadly virus. In her case, she developed meningoencephalitis, which caused her brain to swell. Doctors put her on a ventilator on April 4. She died two weeks later.

In the press conference, Khaldun said also that the state of Michigan is averaging under ten deaths per day which is down from earlier in the pandemic. 

Michigan health officials did share that there were 25 reported cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recent months. The state health department also recorded 41 confirmed or probable cases of Kawasaki disease since March 1.

The Kawasaki disease is an illness that affects mostly children under the age of 5 with inflammation throughout the body. Its symptoms can cause: rash, fever, and eye irritation among other flare-ups. 

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The CDC says both diseases have been linked to exposure or contraction of COVID-19.

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