9-month-old Chicago infant died of COVID-19 related pneumonia, medical examiner says

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CHICAGO — The death of a 9-month-old Chicago infant in March was due, in part, to the novel coronavirus, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Wednesday.

Joseph Myles, whose family said had a history of a cold and cough, was pronounced dead at Mercy Hospital on March 23.

The ME’s office confirmed the baby died as a result of viral pneumonia due to coronavirus NL-63 and COVID-19 infection. The manner of death is natural.

The death of the infant was further investigated following conflicting results from two post-mortem nasopharyngeal swabs. The first swab, administered at the hospital, detected the presence of COVID-19, while the second swab administered at the ME’s office did not.

The swabs, as well as lung and laryngeal tissue samples, were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“On June 5, 2020, the CDC informed the Medical Examiner’s Office that there was molecular evidence of COVID-19 in the lungs but not the larynx,” the ME’s office said in a statement.

When the infant’s death was first announced in March, Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said: “If you haven’t been paying attention maybe this is your wake up call.”

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