An infant in Illinois under the age of one has died after testing positive for coronavirus.
‘There has never been a case of COVID-19 death in an infant,’ said Illinois Public Health Director, Dr Ngozi Ezike.
‘If you haven’t been paying attention, maybe this is your wake-up call, Ezike said.
The child was among 13 new deaths recorded in Illinois, which now has a coronavirus death toll of 47.
Also among the deaths was an employee at the Department of Human Services.
During a press conference on Saturday, Governor Jay Pritzker said: ‘Upon hearing it, I admit I was shaken. We should grieve with our family of state employees, with the many people we’ve already lost to this virus, young and old.
Illinois is under a stay-at-home order, with all non-essential business and travel banned.
An infant has died after testing positive for coronavirus. It’s not clear exactly how old the child was, although officials said they were under the age of one
‘Upon hearing it, I admit I was shaken,’ Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (seen above in Chicago on Friday) said in reaction to the news of the infant’s death
The risk of death and severe illness from COVID-19 is greater for older adults and people with other health problems.
In most cases, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization.
Children have made up a small fraction of coronavirus cases worldwide.
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 COVID-19.
The infant 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 per cent of children were seriously ill.
Earlier this week, a three-week-old infant in New York was identified as the youngest patient in the US to test positive for coronavirus.
The baby was treated at NYU Winthrop Hospital on Long Island in Mineola for several days, but has since been released and is now recuperating at home, according to Fox News.
Experts say that it serves as a reminder that children are not immune to coronavirus, warning parents to be on guard to protect their kids from potential exposure.
New York, now the US epicenter of the outbreak, has at least 52,000 confirmed cases, more than 29,000 in New York City alone.
The statewide death toll is nearing 730 as of Saturday.
Worldwide, the youngest confirmed case was a newborn baby in China who tested positive for coronavirus just 30 hours after birth.
Dr. Asif Noor, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at NYU Winthrop, told Fox News that doctors are prepared to treat child patients with supplemental oxygen if needed.
‘And when we plan to send them home if they don’t require oxygen. They can be observed safely at home,’ he said. ‘We are instructing these parents to adhere to common sense infection control precautions at home.’
Noor said that it was vitally important to remember to keep children who are symptomatic or test positive for coronavirus away from elderly family members, as well as family members with underlying health conditions.
Common symptoms include dry cough, fever and shortness of breath, but many patients, especially younger ones, appear to display very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while some children and infants have been infected with coronavirus, adults make up most of the known cases to date.
Previously, the youngest US patient reported had been seven months old, and earlier this week the first American under the age of 18 died after testing positive for coronavirus – though the circumstances remain unclear.