A 4-year-old child with an underlying medical condition is the first New Jersey child to die from complications from the coronavirus, state officials said on Friday.
Governor Phil Murphy said at his daily press conference in Trenton that the death was the first COVID-19 death in the state of a person under the age of 18.
“We lost another blessed life,” said Murphy. “In this case, it’s unfathomable, it’s a 4-year-old child. “
State officials declined to disclose further information about the victim, including gender and residence. Neither would they reveal the child’s underlying health.
“To protect the privacy of the child, will not release further details,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
The child was one of 162 new coronavirus-related deaths announced by New Jersey officials on Friday, bringing the total to 8,952 attributed to COVID-19 in the nine weeks following the start of the epidemic .
The news comes days after 15 children in New York City contracted Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory disease possibly associated with COVID-19. Health officials said Thursday that at least 12 New Jersey hospitals have treated children with the rare disease.
It is not known if the victim announced on Friday that he had the disease.
“I think we have said all that we are going to say about the blessed 4 year old that we lost,” said Murphy.
Children who get coronavirus are rare. Data from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested last month that children make up only 2% of all the United States and that their symptoms tend to be milder than those found in adults. Cases COVID-19 and as of the date of its April 10 report on morbidity and mortality – the most recent CDC discussion on the subject – it noted that only three people under the age of 18 had died of complications from the virus to United States.
Before the child’s death, the age distribution of fatal cases of coronavirus in New Jersey was as follows:
- 29 victims aged 18 to 29
- 330 victims aged 30 to 49
- 1,155 victims aged 50 to 64
- 2,369 victims aged 65 to 79
- 3340 victims aged 80 and over
More than half of the victims with a known medical history had an underlying medical condition, including 58% with cardiovascular disease, according to the state’s COVID-19 monitoring website.
New Jersey, a densely populated state of 9 million people, has reported a total of at least 135,454 coronaviruses since the outbreak started on March 4. This includes 1,985 additional positive tests announced by the authorities on Friday. Only New York has more deaths and cases in the United States.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations for coronaviruses in the Garden State continue to decrease from a peak in mid-April, from more than 8,000 to 4,764 at 10 p.m. Thursday.
“Our hospital data continues to go in the right direction – down,” said Murphy during the briefing on Friday. “But we cannot overstate that even if we are happy with this progress, our hospital systems are treating many more patients than it would have been in another year, and the stress on us health care system, although it is certainly shrinking, is still there. We are the only ones who can push these figures even further. “
The Garden State’s economy also suffered during the epidemic, with more than a million residents applying for unemployment since social distress and business closures began in late March. Meanwhile, businesses have suffered incalculable loss of revenue.
Despite pressure from some lawmakers, businesses and residents, Murphy said the state could not rush the reopening, as it could increase cases, deaths and hospitalizations again.
The governor formed a commission to develop a strategy but did not give a final timetable. He said the state should meet the conditions for a wider reopening – including cases and hospitalizations falling for 14 consecutive days, as well as officials extending tests and installing contact tracing and isolation programs .
But Murphy has authorized the reopening of parks and golf courses in New Jersey, with restrictions on social distancing. And with Memorial Day in less than three weeks, he said he could soon allow the beaches to reopen, with similar guidelines.
Murphy also said it could allow the resumption of non-essential construction and elective surgery, while allowing some non-essential businesses to offer curbside service.
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today at NJ.com.
Brent Johnson can be reached at [email protected].
Bobby Olivier can be reached at [email protected].