Girl under 10 is youngest person to die of COVID-19 in Houston, city health officials say

FILE - A syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in the Norristown Public Health Center in Norristown, Pa., Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. The nations COVID-19 death toll stands at around 800,000 as the anniversary of the U.S. vaccine rollout arrives. A year ago it stood at 300,000. What might have been a time to celebrate a scientific achievement is fraught with discord and mourning. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) (Matt Rourke, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – A girl under the age of 10 is the city’s youngest confirmed pediatric COVID-19 death, the Houston Health Department announced Wednesday.

The child, who is Black and had underlying health conditions, died in mid-October at a Houston hospital. Genomic sequencing did not identify the variant of virus that infected her.  

Privacy laws prevent the health department from providing any other identifiable information.   

“The death of a child under any circumstance is heartbreaking. On behalf of the City of Houston, I extend my condolences to the girl’s family during this unimaginable time of grief,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This tragic COVID-19 related death serves as a reminder that we must get vaccinated, mask up, and get tested to protect our community during the Omicron surge, especially children too young to get vaccinated.”

As of Wednesday, there are 3,978 confirmed COVID-19 deaths of Houstonians. The range of ages for the other victims include seven (0.18%) between ages 10 and 19, 1.2% in their 20s, 3.5% were in their 30s, 8.3% in their 40s, 16.1% in their 50s, 24.2% in their 60s, 21.9% in their 70s, and 24.7% were 80 and older.  

Getting vaccinated helps prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death; it also helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Since COVID-19 vaccination began, nearly all Texas COVID-19 deaths are among people who are not fully vaccinated.

People ages 5 and up are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine while people ages 18 and up are eligible for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Booster shots are available to people ages 12 and up.

With the very contagious Omicron variant rapidly spreading, the health department urges everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face covering in public indoor places and crowded outdoor settings.    

“While most children who get COVID-19 recover, this tragedy is an example of how our youngest can get seriously ill and lose their lives to this disease,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the City of Houston. “Children who have underlying conditions are especially vulnerable to poor outcomes from COVID-19, especially when it comes to the possibility of co-infection with other respiratory illnesses.”  

Getting vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 at health department-affiliated sites is free and does not require proof of residency, citizenship, or insurance.  

The health department provides dozens of free COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites across the city. Sites and schedules can be found at houstonhealth.org or by calling 832-393-4220.


About the Author:

Mother of two. Award-winning lover of digital storytelling, sparked by my fascination of being a fashionable gossip like my favorite "Willona Woods" character from "Good Times." On the serious side, president of the Houston Association of Black Journalists and dedicated community servant. Happy to share the news with you each and every day!