Infant dies after contracting COVID, becomes youngest person to die from the virus in Riverside County

A baby in southwestern Riverside County died this week after contracting COVID-19, becoming the youngest person in the county to die from the virus, health officials said Thursday.

The child was less than a year old and died earlier this week at a local hospital, where he was taken after falling ill, the Riverside County Public Health Department said in a news release.

The identity of the child is not disclosed, as is the city of residence. It’s also not known if the infant had any underlying health conditions.

“Our thoughts and condolences go out to the parents, family and others affected by this tragedy,” county public health officer Geoffrey Leung said in a statement. “This loss reminds us that this virus does not discriminate between young and old.”

Leung said the child’s death “reinforces our commitment to end this pandemic before another young life is lost. It shows the importance of using the tools available to protect those around us, especially the most innocent, of the damage the virus can cause.

The youngest previous death from the virus in Riverside County was a 4-year-old child who died in August.

Health officials say there have been more than 5,600 COVID-19 related deaths in Riverside County since the pandemic began. The vast majority of deaths have involved people over the age of 30, but there have been a handful of teenagers and young adults who have died from the virus – some with underlying health conditions.

Health officials have reported that infants under the age of 1 may be at greater risk of serious illness with COVID-19 than older children. This is likely due to their immature immune system and smaller airways, which makes them more susceptible to developing respiratory problems with viral respiratory infections.

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