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

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 in COVID-19 in Orange County was announced in August 2020, and 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 children have died in Los Angeles County — two among children under the age of 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 for the vaccine — and neither are their families.

Vaccinations have been authorized for people age 12 and up.

Before Orange County announced the latest pediatric death, of the more than 66,000 COVID-19 deaths in California, 33 fatalities have been among children. Nine deaths were among those younger than 5, and the remaining 24 among children between age 5 and 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.

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