CHICAGO — A 12-year-old boy died due to coronavirus complications Thursday, officials said.
The boy, whose name was not released, died at Advocate Christ Medical Center in suburban Oak Lawn from a COVID-19 infection with asthma, obstructive sleep apnea and Charcot-Marie Tooth Disorder as contributing factors, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said.
The Gage Park child is the youngest known confirmed death from COVID-19 infection in Cook County, the office said. Charcot-Marie Tooth is a degenerative nerve disease impacting the nerves in a person’s arms and legs.
“I’m sure every parent, everybody in Illinois is saddened to hear this news,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, during a Thursday press conference. “Of course, every life lost is a tragedy. … I know that there’s no way we can predict who will have these most severe outcomes. I think that’s why we’re trying so hard to work on the prevention and just try to limit the amount of people who get infected.”
Ezike suggested parents follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments to prevent the spread of the disease.
That will lead to the virus not spreading to as many people, which means fewer hospitalizations and deaths.
“Stay at home as much as possible,” Ezike said. “If you’re out, please try to maintain social distancing. … Wear a mask, clean frequently touched surfaces, don’t forget the emphasis on washing our hands for at least 20 seconds with soap. … All of these things will help decrease the number of fatalities we see.”
In late March, state officials said a 9-month-old Chicago baby died from the virus, but the Chicago Department of Public Health later said the cause of death was under investigation and may not have been related to COVID-19.
The Medical Examiner’s Office has since sent tissue samples from the baby to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has yet to rule on the case.
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