13-Year-Old Boy Dies After Having COVID-19 Symptoms, But Tested Negative for Virus

A 13-year-old boy in Claremont, California died last week after experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Because he tested negative for the virus, Maxx Cheng’s death remains a mystery to his family who maintain that they had been careful even before he got sick.

Image via Cheng Family

What happened: Cheng, 13, began to feel sick on July 4 and died on Thursday, July 16.

  • Cheng suffered chest pains, nausea and vomiting, according to his sister Charlotte, who was quarantined at home.
  • “That list that pops up, a little bit, on that initial search, he had all of those symptoms,” Charlotte told CBS 2.
  • Cheng’s mother took him to get tested for COVID-19 on July 9, which then returned negative.
  • Despite the result, Cheng continued to isolate himself due to his symptoms.
  • Cheng died on Thursday night, days after showing signs of improvement such as lowered fever and almost no coughing.
Image via Cheng Family

How loved ones honor him: Cheng, survived by his twin brother Leo, will be remembered for his “immense care for others and his love for God,” his family said.

  • Cheng had a passion for swimming, competitive speaking and playing the viola.
  • Friends of the family started a GoFundMe page to cover his memorial and funeral, while any excess goes to a college fund for Leo and Charlotte.
  • “It’s very, very shocking, saddening, paralyzing,” Nicole Weinstein, whose daughter attended elementary and El Roble Intermediate School with Cheng, told ABC 7. “The minute I heard, it was like a huge bright light had been extinguished. He had so much charisma, so much positive energy. He was class president last year.”
  • The fundraiser, which sought $40,000, managed to collect over $61,000 so far.
  • “We want to sincerely thank everyone in our community for the love and support they have poured out to us since Maxx’s passing,” Cheng’s family said in a statement. “We also want to thank everyone who donated anonymously and who may not have known Maxx personally but were impacted by his passing. As a family, we are grieving the passing of Maxx and we appreciate everyone who has supported and lifted us up. We love him very much and know everyone who knew him does too.”

The family is expecting an autopsy report that would confirm the cause of the boy’s death.

Feature Images via Cheng Family

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