Neighbors and teachers in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood are remembering a 12-year-old boy who on Thursday became the youngest known person to die from the coronavirus in Cook County, according to officials.
Ernesto Guzman, 12, died from pneumonia and a COVID-19 infection with asthma, sleep apnea and Charcot-Marie Tooth Disorder as contributing factors, the Medical Examiners’ Office said.
“You could tell they were a very close-knit family,” said Rolando Perez, who lived across from Guzman and his family. “He was struggling but there was also a lot of love in that family because there were different siblings that would come and pick him up or walk him back to bring him back in the house.”
Charcot-Marie Tooth Disorder is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by weakness and muscle loss in the lower legs, hands and feet, according to the American Medical Association.
“Trying to just wake up, get out of bed, all the details that come with eating breakfast, let alone going up the stairs, and now this happened it’s unfathomable, unthinkable,” said Perez, who recently lost his father to the coronavirus.
The Chicago Teacher’s Union also paid respects to the young student on Facebook.
“Saddened and devastated in sharing the news of the loss of one of our children to COVID-19,” the post reads. “Keeping his memory, his family and the Acero-Marquez community in our hearts.”
Guzman is of 138 additional deaths reported in Illinois on Thursday.
The state also saw 3,239 new confirmed cases of the virus, lifting statewide totals to 87,937 cases and 3,928 deaths.