Infant coronavirus death in Chicago is "very unusual," health commissioner says

Infant dies from coronavirus in Chicago

Chicago has reported what is believed to be the first infant to die from the coronavirus. The medical history of the baby was not immediately released, but an investigation into their death is underway, and a doctor says it's a "very unusual" case.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, said the high risk for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is still in elderly populations and people with preexisting conditions. 

"It's very unusual to be seeing a case like this, so obviously we're doing a thorough investigation, working really with the family, our hearts go out to them, the pediatrician, the medical examiner, the CDC, really wanting to make sure we're doing confirmatory testing, looking at everything that's underlying it," she said on "CBS This Morning" Monday. "We're obviously concerned about it, but by and large, the main risk does remain in the older populations, the folks with the underlying medical conditions."

Arwady said what the medical professions "don't want to see" is "people bringing in healthy babies to emergency departments worried about their health." 

"That's not what we want to see. We do want to make sure that we're keeping this in perspective even while we're doing the full investigation," she said. 

There are about 2,000 reported coronavirus cases in Chicago and about 4,500 across Illinois, Arwady said. 

"We are working very hard to do everything we can to keep the spread down while we prepare the health care system," she said. "We've got the hotels in place for isolation. We're doing lots in our congregant settings, working with the jails, working with homeless communities, working with our long-term care facilities. We're working and even looking at surge capacity and things like McCormick Place, which is our largest convention center. Not waiting until the time where we run out of capacity to try to build it."

Arwady said the city has been distributing "hundreds of thousands of masks," as well as gloves and other equipment that it had on hand. It has also put in requests for supplies from the national stockpile. 

"We've gotten some indication that we'll receive some supplies," she said. "We're really thankful for any ventilators in particular."

She added that there is "certainly more needs still for testing capacity here."