A five-year-old boy in the United States has died from complications caused by the coronavirus, as the Delta variant continues to spread across the country.
“A day, two. No appetite, a little vomiting, a bit lethargic,” Wyatt’s grandmother, Andrea Mitchell, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in a statement released through his godmother Amanda Summey.
“He’d barely had more than a sniffle or two as prior illnesses go. Then the white tongue.”
Alarmed, the family took him to hospital, where he was diagnosed with covid, along with strep and staph infections.
“We’d been so careful this whole time, for it to find us now?” said Ms Mitchell.
“He was fighting for his very life. His mother, up for four days, never leaving between cajoling him to keep moving and fighting and begging him to stay.
“His father, the backbone of the family, coughing from covid now himself, stood beside in silent worry, beyond believing what he was seeing.
“Then it ended. On July 16, 2021 at 12:05pm, Wyatt died. A massive stroke struck the soul of his brain.”
He leaves behind his parents, Wes and Alexa, and a nine-month-old sister, Alyssa.
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Wyatt’s father, a deputy with the Whitfield County Sheriff Department, paid tribute to his son on Facebook.
“My little buddy. My best friend. My helper,” Mr Gibson said.
“Wyatt was nothing but joy and happiness. We loved having fun and going on adventures together. He loved his mother and his sister so very much, and he was always looking for ways to help.
“He loved to build things. Big things! And then he loved showing them to Alexis and me.
“He loved to play outside, help in the yard, and help with the horses. He loved the horses and the dogs. He was full of love, and brightened everyone’s world. Wyatt would wave to strangers in the grocery store because he knew that it absolutely made their day.
“In a way I know that you’re still here, but I miss you so damn much.
“I have lost my best friend.”
Wyatt’s mother spoke briefly to the Journal-Constitution, saying he “brought love and joy” to everyone he met.
“There are no words,” Mrs Gibson added on Facebook.
“Wyatt was nothing but pure love and the perfect overload of happiness. We see you everywhere we look Bitty Wy, and I still feel you holding my hand.”
The local community has rallied around the family. A GoFundMe page set up by Ms Summy has raised $US36,000, with a goal of $50,000, to help the Gibsons with their medical bills and funeral costs.
Ms Summy described Wyatt’s death as “the worst nightmare of any parent”.
“May your sweet little angel rest in heavenly peace,” said one of the donors, Krystal Ramirez.
“I have a six-year-old who is just like your son was, so happy and full of life with long hair and a heart bigger than the universe itself. I am so sorry for your loss.”
I”m so sorry for your loss. Sometimes the angels visit for such a short time to remind us how to be,” said Peter Allar.
Mr Gibson thanked people for their support in another Facebook post.
“Thank you all so much. To everyone that has reached out, helped out, sent food, sent prayers, donated, and so many other things. Thank you,” he said.
“We cannot begin to explain nor put into words how much we appreciate everything. Thank you all so much for being here for us in so many different ways.”
The highly infectious Delta variant is now the dominant strain of covid in the US. Earlier this week Dr Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centres for Disease Control and prevention, said it accounted for 83 per cent of new infections.
Meanwhile, cases are rising in all 50 states, and have tripled in the past month.
On June 21, the US was averaging 12,000 infections per day. That figure is now 38,000. Hospitalisations have also spiked.
Of the people in hospital with covid, about 97 per cent are unvaccinated. And among those who have died recently, 99.5 per cent were unvaccinated.
The US vaccine rollout has slowed considerably after a fast start in the first half of the year. A little under half the population is fully vaccinated, while two-thirds of people have received at least one shot.
The government is struggling to convince the remaining third of Americans to get the vaccines. Public polling has consistently shown about 30 per cent of the country does not intend to be vaccinated.
“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Dr Walensky said during a public health briefing on the day Wyatt died.
“We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage, because unvaccinated people are at risk, and the communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well.
“The good news is that if you’re fully vaccinated, you are protected against severe covid, hospitalisation and death, and are even protected against the known variants, including the Delta variant.
“If you are not vaccinated, you remain at risk. And our biggest concern is that we’re going to continue to see preventable cases, hospitalisations and, sadly, deaths among the unvaccinated.”
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