A six-week-old baby with coronavirus has died in Connecticut – reportedly the youngest person to die after catching the disease.
Connecticut governer Ned Lamont tweeted his “heartbreaking sadness” in confirming the first paediatric death in the state linked to COVID-19.
It is unclear if the baby had underlying health conditions.
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“A 6-week-old newborn from the Hartford area was brought unresponsive to a hospital late last week and could not be revived,” Mr Lamond tweeted on Wednesday.
“Testing confirmed last night that the newborn was COVID-19 positive. This is absolutely heartbreaking. We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19.
“This is a virus that attacks our most fragile without mercy. This also stresses the importance of staying home and limiting exposure to other people. Your life and the lives of others could literally depend on it. Our prayers are with the family at this difficult time.”
The confirmed coronavirus-linked death toll in the US has almost doubled in three days to 5,137, with 216,722 confirmed cases.
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Four new American states imposed sweeping stay-at-home rules on Wednesday in response to the pandemic, putting over 80% of Americans under lockdown.
President Donald Trump said he saw no need to issue a nationwide decree, with 39 states and the District of Columbia now forcing residents to stay home except for essential outings.
He also told a White House briefing on Wednesday he was considering halting flights to coronavirus hot spots, such as New York, New Orleans and Detroit.
“We’re certainly looking at it, but once you do that you really are clamping down on an industry that is desperately needed,” Mr Trump told a White House news briefing.
New York state remains the epicentre of the outbreak in America, accounting for more than a third of US deaths.
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White House medical experts forecast that even if Americans hunker down in their homes to slow the spread, some 100,000 to 240,000 people could die with the respiratory disease.
A 12-year-old girl in Belgium is the youngest known person to have died in Europe after catching coronavirus.
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The youngest victim in the UK is understood to be a 13-year-old from London, Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab.
Both children were apparently healthy.
Doctors have said the death toll of healthy children who have coronavirus is significantly lower than that of adults, but it is nonetheless climbing.