CA Officials Walk Back Panic-Inducing Claim That COVID-19 Was Cause of Teen's of Death

It’s one of the heartbreaking stories we’ve been accustomed to hearing over the past few weeks: Another COVID-19 victim, this one just a teenager.
To make things worse, the mayor of the teen’s city said he was turned away from an urgent care center for not having health insurance.
It was, to some, the face of everything wrong with the American medical system that coronavirus had exposed. Here, as the story was first reported, was a 17-year-old with no complicating conditions who went from healthy to dead in a matter of days — and he’d been turned away because, assumedly, his family couldn’t afford medical coverage. It was a sign that the system doesn’t work.
The liberal HuffPost headlined the story: “Teen Who May Have Died Of Coronavirus Was Denied Care For Not Having Insurance: Mayor.”
The news made a splash:
However, what we know for sure is a lot different. Yes, the teenager died after being sick for just a few days. And yes, he apparently did test positive for COVID-19. But health officials are backtracking considerably from naming that as the cause of death.
Here’s the timeline, according to NBC News: On March 18, the 17-year-old Lancaster, California, boy was taken to an urgent care center. He was then taken to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he died. Six days later, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said he died of COVID-19.
The department later revised that and said it wasn’t willing to count the teen as a COVID-19 victim, because his case was “complex.”
Had he died of the disease, he would have been the first juvenile to have been felled by coronavirus in the United States, according to CNN.
Almost everything else that’s public about the backstory seems to come from Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.
“He had been sick for a few days; he had no previous health conditions. On the Friday before he died, he was healthy; he was socializing with his friends,” Parris said in a YouTube video posted Wednesday, a week after the teen’s death. “By Wednesday, he was dead.”
According to Parris, the teen had been turned away from the urgent care center.
“He did not have insurance, so they did not treat him,” he said.
“When a kid comes in respiratory distress, stabilize him and call ambulance, don’t ask for insurance,” Parris told CNN in a separate interview.
The loss of any teenager is obviously a heartbreaking thing and I would, in no way, like to diminish the tragedy. However, pretty much every aspect of this is very muddy.
The subtext of this is that the teen died of COVID-19, for instance. At the time the YouTube video had been made, Parris had likely had time to learn that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health had revoked its earlier declaration that the boy had died of a coronavirus infection.
“The juvenile fatality that the Los Angeles County Department Public Health reported earlier today will require further evaluation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the department said in a Tuesday news release.
“Though early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality. Patient privacy prevents our offering further details at this time.”
That might have been why  “COVID-19” is not mentioned aloud in the video. Anyone watching would get the impression that that’s what happened, but Parris never comes out and says the words (though the title of the video is “COVID-19 Daily Update 3/25/2020”).
Parris also told CNN that a friend of the victim as well as the victim’s father have both tested positive for coronavirus. That wasn’t the impression one took away from the county’s news release, however.
The Western Journal reached out to Parris by email on Monday afternoon, but did not receive an immediate response.
The coronavirus crisis has the whole world on edge, with the sure knowledge that those at risk are the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions. The story of an otherwise healthy teenager actually dying from a coronavirus infection had the potential to induce panic even beyond the situation as it stands.
Neither the Los Angeles County of Public Health nor Parris seems to have had enough information to declare this a COVID-19 death. In the case of Parris, there was contradicting information when he came forward with a video strong on innuendo by weak on facts.
If the teen had died of the disease, this would have been one of the youngest fatalities linked to coronavirus infection. It would have had massive implications on a number of levels. This was one of those times when getting it right mattered.

Instead, we got this.
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