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Beds in a soon-to-be-opened emergency shelter for the homeless in Los Angeles, March 23. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Los Angeles County health department said on Tuesday "there may be an alternate explanation" for the death of a California teenager whose "early tests indicated a positive result for COVID-19."

Why it matters: The fatality rate for the novel coronavirus in the U.S. is highest among those over 85, the CDC found in a report issued last week — and no deaths among people under 19 years of age were reported in the U.S. as of March 18. The CDC will evaluate the case of the teenagers' death in Los Angeles County.

  • There have been 11 virus-related deaths in LA County as of Tuesday, and at least 40 in the state of California.
  • LA County health officials did not specify in a press conference whether the minor had underlying health conditions. Additional information about the case is pending further investigation, the department said.

What they're saying: "COVID-19 does not discriminate by age, race or income level, and what we are seeing in places like New York is indicative of what we should prepare to experience here," Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Tuesday when announcing the juvenile fatality, emphasizing that residents should practice social distancing.

  • "It is a reminder to everyone to take this seriously," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Facebook live address. Newsom identified the deceased individual as a teenager.

Go deeper: Coronavirus updates

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more comment from the health department and Newsom.

Go deeper

Omicron cases confirmed in 4 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant were detected in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday, making New York the fourth state with confirmed cases.

The latest: In addition to New York, the variant has been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

Early winter heat shatters records in U.S., Canada

Temperature departures from average on Dec. 2, 2021, as depicted by the GFS computer model. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread and intense heatwave is roasting large portions of the U.S. and Canada, shattering daily and monthly temperature records.

Why it matters: Winter is the fastest-warming season across the U.S., and the lingering warmth is shortening the snow season in places like Colorado and Montana, where mountain snowpack is a critical source of water during the summer months.

5 hours ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.