Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris says teen COVID-19 death u-turn is “nonsensical”

Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG

A 17-year-old youth who reportedly died from COVID-19 Tuesday, March 24th, no longer counts towards the coronavirus death toll.

The news should have been a unifying tragic moment for young and old across the country. Yet, after the initial report, there was an unusual u-turn by Los Angeles County public health officials. A u-turn Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, California called out as “nonsensical.”

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A very public u-turn

Midday, on the 24th, Los Angeles County public health officials made an announcement during a daily briefing, adding 11 new COVID-19 deaths to the nation’s total. Including that of a 17-year-old youth, the countries youngest victim to date, allegedly. During the report, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the youth’s death was “a devastating reminder that COVID-19 infects people of all ages.”

When first reported, the age of the victim and their lack of underlying conditions sent shudders around the state. The coronavirus was allegedly only impacting the elderly and those with pre-existing respiratory problems. The death of a healthy 17-year-old would have changed everything.

A few hours after the daily briefing, a follow-up statement was released by Los Angeles County public health director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer. It added that the youth’s death could have another explanation beyond Covid-19. It read the youth’s death had “extenuating circumstances that pointed to an alternative diagnosis.”

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Mayor makes valid points

Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster, California said the u-turn was “nonsensical” because the youth died from septic shock after having respiratory problems. Septic shock is the body’s reaction to widespread infection, like COVID-19. In severe cases such as this, septic shock can cause dangerously low blood pressure and organ failure.

The mayor added that the youth had health issues in the past but was healthy at the time of infection. Stating that Lancaster was “the first city in the nation to lose a child”.

Whichever way you look at this tragic death, the COVID-19 coronavirus is to blame. Even if underlying conditions are discovered it doesn’t change anything about what pushed this 17-year-old’s body to its limit, nor does it change the virality of this pandemic. Everyone can get it and no one knows how their body will react.

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Source of teen’s infection

In an even bigger twist to the story, the teen’s father, an Uber driver who at the time of his son’s funeral had no idea the COVID-19 coronavirus was to blame. Therefore, he could have been spreading the virus unknowingly to passengers and others since his son’s tragic death, which happened a week before the announcement on March 24th.

Too often we’ve been told the COVID-19 coronavirus doesn’t hurt the youth but the events in Lancaster, California change everything. Whether the government was incompetent as Mayor Parris also states or just trying to cushion the terrifying truth, there should have been no u-turn without actual evidence. Mayor R. Rex Parris sums it up perfectly:

“Everyone should be truly horrified. We were told and we believed that this would not kill children and we learned today that is wrong”

Mayor R. Rex Parris

At the time of writing, the United States has a total of 69,000 reported COVID-19 coronavirus cases, with 1050 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.

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