Despite medical officials having yet to issue a final cause of death for the infant, and his office admitting as much, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) declared to the nation Wednesday that his state had suffered what he described as “the first pediatric fatality in Connecticut linked to COVID-19,” the death of a 7-week-old who tested positive for the virus in the autopsy. In a video posted on social media Friday that has already racked up nearly 3 million views, conservative commentator Candace Owens demanded the governor resign for what she says she has confirmed to be a willful “lie.” On the same day Owens posted the video, the office of the state’s chief medical officer told the media they have yet to issue a final cause of death for the child.
“It is with heartbreaking sadness today that we can confirm the first pediatric fatality in Connecticut linked to [COVID-19],” Lamont announced in a series of tweets Wednesday. “A 6-week-old newborn from the Hartford area was brought unresponsive to a hospital late last week and could not be revived. Testing confirmed last night that the newborn was COVID-19 positive. This is absolutely heartbreaking. We believe this is one of the youngest lives lost anywhere due to complications relating to COVID-19. This is a virus that attacks our most fragile without mercy. This also stresses the importance of staying home and limiting exposure to other people. Your life and the lives of others could literally depend on it. Our prayers are with the family at this difficult time.”
While Lamont’s statement strongly suggested the baby died because of coronavirus, the state’s chief medical examiner, Dr. James Gill, said Wednesday after the governor’s announcement that the cause of death of the child had not yet been established.
“The infant did test positive for the COVID-19 virus and an autopsy was done at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,” Gill said in an email to CT Post Wednesday. “At the current time, we have not issued a final cause of death. There are numerous tests that we must do on infant deaths before issuing a final cause of death. We cannot discuss the specifics of an investigation.”
As reported by FOX 6 Wednesday, a spokesman for Lamont acknowledged that officials “did not know whether the infant had underlying medical conditions” when he made the announcement.
Owens, who was born in Connecticut and still has family members who live in the state, responded to Lamont’s announcement Wednesday by blasting him for “scaring mothers” through “partial information” and “political doublespeak” — particularly noting his use of the imprecise phrase “like to COVID-19” in his statement — and accusing him of trying to use the tragic announcement for political purposes.
“‘Linked to Covid-19’. What the hell does that mean?” Owens wrote in a series of posts. “Did the newborn have pre-existing conditions— yes or no? Did the infant die OF coronavirus yes or no? STOP with this political doublespeak. Scaring mothers of newborns with partial information is SCUM BEHAVIOR.” She added in a follow-up post: “‘Complicated by’ ‘Linked to’, has anybody else realized that ALL of these death announcements provide partial information? If you are going to start using the death of infants to scare people into doing what you want, you better start providing FULL information, [Gov. Lamont].”
On Friday, Owens posted a video on Facebook in which she claims to have confirmed that the 7-week-old infant died from a terrible accident at home, rather than complications related to the virus, and accuses Lamont of knowing that when he made the announcement Wednesday. Lamont, she said, should resign or be forced out — and perhaps face legal consequences for his alleged actions. In the video, Owens does not provide many specifics about the case, stating that she is attempting to be sensitive to the family who suffered the tragic death, but has since specified in a follow-up tweet that the child “was accidentally suffocated by its caretaker, who then called police.”
Since word is getting out— I can now confirm that the infant in CT was accidentally suffocated by its caretaker, who then called the police. @GovNedLamont KNEW this, & then lied to the world by linking it to the #coronavirus because he wants more Federal money.
He should RESIGN. https://t.co/q6L5V55DWh
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) April 4, 2020
Owens’ claims are yet to be either confirmed or refuted. As of Saturday morning, Connecticut officials, including Lamont and Gill, have not provided definitive updates about the results of the investigation into the infant’s tragic death, and most media outlets that initially reported on the case have provided no follow-up reports. On Friday, the Hartford Courant reported that two days after the governor’s announcement, “questions remain about the 6-week-old baby’s exact cause of death.” The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner “has not ruled that COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, caused the baby’s death as of Friday afternoon,” the outlet reported.
In another social media post Friday, Owens highlighted video of Lamont being asked about his much-reported claim on Friday and if it’s possible the child died of a cause other than COVID-19. The governor responds by quickly directing the question to the Public Health Department’s Dr. Matthew Cartter, who says, “I don’t know the cause of death for this person that you’re talking about, or any of the people.” His office’s “purpose,” he explains, is to report on confirmed cases of COVID-19, not cause of death.
Here it is! @GovNedLamont pressed today about my earlier report that he LIED about the infant #coronavirus death. Look at this coward as he’s too scared to answer—now claiming they have no idea how the baby died!
It was an at-home tragedy. He should be forced to RESIGN for this pic.twitter.com/lJ2ohO7Gv9
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) April 3, 2020