Originally, the boy’s death was attributed to the coronavirus.
California officials first announced that the teenager from Lancaster was the youngest person in the country to die of coronavirus-related complications. Later, they released another statement saying that the teen's cause of death needed further investigation. The teen did test positive for COVID-19, but there's more to it than that.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said the teenager died of septic shock, but that doesn’t rule out the coronavirus.
Even if the teenage boy died of septic shock, which is a bacterial infection, that doesn’t necessarily rule out the coronavirus as a cause of death as well. “We do know that respiratory viruses in general can exacerbate secondary bacterial infections,” said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases and professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Stanford University. That means it’s totally possible that the coronavirus the boy tested positive for could have made the bacterial infection even worse and led to the boy’s death.
This is a reminder that COVID-19 doesn’t care how old you are.
Just last week, the CDC said there were no reported cases of deaths in persons younger than 19. Depending on what is determined to be the cause of death in the case of this California teen, that may no longer be the case. “Tragically, one of the people who died was a person under the age of 18,” Los Angeles County public health director Barbara Ferrer said on Tuesday during a news conference. “A devastating reminder that COVID-19 infects people of all ages.”