By CBSLA Staff

RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — An infant who died earlier this week is the youngest person to die of COVID-19 in Riverside County since the start of the pandemic, officials said Thursday.

The infant had contracted COVID and was taken to a local hospital, where the child died, according to Riverside County health officials. The baby was less than a year old and was identified only as being from southwest Riverside County.

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“This loss reminds us that this virus does not discriminate between the young and old,” Riverside County public health officer Dr. Geoffrey Leung said in a statement.

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There have been more than 5,600 COVID-related deaths in Riverside County since the pandemic began in March of 2020, but the vast majority of those deaths have involved people over 30 years old, health officials said. There have been a handful of teens and young adults who died from the virus, some with underlying health issues, and it’s unclear if that was the case with the infant who died this week.

Before this week, the youngest death in Riverside County from COVID was a 4-year-old from western Riverside County who died in August.

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Infants under the age of 1 may be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID than older children, probably due to their immature immune systems and smaller airways that could make them more prone to developing breathing issues with respiratory virus infections, health officials have reported.