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An uninsured 17-year-old died after being denied care for coronavirus symptoms

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A teen in Lancaster, California died last week from what appeared to be coronavirus-related complications. Gizmodo reported that the 17-year-old boy is thought to have been the first person under 18 to die from the disease in the U.S. As if the death of a young, seemingly healthy person weren’t harrowing enough, there is cause to believe that the youth was denied care for COVID-19 because he did not have health insurance.

The teen reportedly felt ill and sought treatment at an urgent care clinic, but was denied. The staff at the facility told the teen to try the emergency room at the local public hospital, Antelope Valley (AV) Hospital, according to Gizmodo. While in transit to that hospital, he reportedly went into cardiac arrest. The hospital staff was able to keep the teen — who appeared to have no previous health conditions — alive for about six hours.

“He didn’t have insurance, so they did not treat him,” Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris said in a YouTube video Wednesday. “On the Friday before he died, he was healthy, he was socializing with his friends.” The name of the clinic that refused the teen treatment has not been released. Neither has the boy’s name, which has been removed from the U.S. coronavirus death toll as the CDC evaluates any possible extenuating factors. While both of the child’s parents tested positive for COVID-19, health experts say this case is complex and that they are still trying to nail COVID-19 down as the cause, according to CNN.

On Tuesday night, LA's County Department of Public Health issued this statement, as reported by CNN: "Though early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19, the case is complex and there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality." They also cited patient privacy as a block from obtaining more details.

Mayor Parris said, in his YouTube address, that he is concerned for the folks who were shaking hands at the funeral of the boy, who may have been unaware that he died of COVID-19. In case you’re struggling with the timeline, let me break it down for you: The teen reportedly died on March 18, but the mayor said that he was not notified of his death until March 25. This kind of lengthy gap in public announcement serves as further reinforcement that the U.S. COVID statistics may be skewed.

Statistics aren’t the only thing crooked in this situation. Our current approach to “healthcare” is playing a bigger role in the pandemic that you might think. Countries like Taiwan, where 99% of citizens are insured, are recovering at lightning speed while we hem and haw as people die. Tell me again what a great job the U.S. is doing, Mr. President.

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