Child under age 5 dies of COVID-19 in Orange County

Nationwide, at least 500 children have died of COVID-19. Above: coronavirus particles as seen in a transmission electron microscope image.
(National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)

A second child has died of COVID-19 in Orange County.

The child, who was under the age of 5, died in August, the Orange County Health Care Agency said Friday.

The first pediatric death from COVID-19 in Orange County, announced in August 2020, was that of a teenage girl who had underlying medical conditions.

Pediatric COVID-19 deaths remain rare, officials said. Of more than 25,000 total COVID-19 deaths in Los Angeles County, seven minors have died — two children under 12, and five adolescents and teenagers age 12 to 17.

The best way to protect children too young to be vaccinated is to increase vaccination rates among the adults and teenagers around them. Officials in Orange County have said that, generally speaking, the children hospitalized for COVID-19 are not vaccinated — sometimes because they’re not eligible — and neither are their families.

Vaccinations have been authorized for ages 12 and up.

Before Orange County announced the latest pediatric death, of the more than 66,000 COVID-19 deaths in California, 33 have been minors. Nine were children under 5, and the remaining 24 were ages 5 to 17.

Nationwide, at least 500 children have died of COVID-19. The nation’s cumulative COVID-19 death toll among people of all ages exceeds 654,000.