Coronavirus: First US death of child under 18 reported in California

Officials in Los Angeles have confirmed three more deaths linked to the coronavirus, including the area's first death of a child under 18.

The case marks the first reported death of a child in the US as the pandemic surges to more than 40,000 cases in the country.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in California spiked to more than 2,200 on Tuesday.

Los Angeles County Health Department director Barbara Ferrer said the latest death serves as a "devastating reminder" that the virus impacts people of all ages. Officials did not reveal the age or other identifying information about the child, who was from Lancaster in Los Angeles County.

The virus "does not discriminate by age, race or income level, and what we are seeing in places like New York is indicative of what we should prepare to experience here", Dr Ferrer said, urging social distancing measures and isolation efforts to help "flatten the curve" in the state.

Health officials have counted 662 total cases across the county, including 11 deaths. Of those cases, 119 involved hospitalisations.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a "stay-at-home" order in effect for most of the state's 40m residents.

The child's death follows assurance from the White House that no child younger than 14 has died from the virus.

Dr Deborah Birx, who sits on the White House coronavirus task force, reported that one 14 year old and one 15 year old have died in China.

"In the mortality data that has been provided to us, there has been no child under 15 that has succumbed to the virus in Europe," she said. "There was the one 14 year old in China. So we still see that there is less severity in children, and so that should be reassuring to the moms and dads out there."

A 10-month-old infant and a 14-year-old boy died in China after being exposed to the virus.

The 10-month-old baby had a pre-existing condition called intussusception and experienced organ failure. The child died four weeks after being admitted to a hospital in Wuhan, according to reports.

According to reporting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month, 5 per cent of roughly 2,500 coronavirus patients surveyed were under 19 years old. Among patients who were hospitalised, less than 1 per cent were younger than 19.

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