A 5-year-old Georgia boy with no underlying health conditions has died from complications of COVID-19, his family has said.
Wyatt Gary Gibson of Calhoun, whose entire family contracted the coronavirus, succumbed on Friday to what loved ones called an extreme case of pneumonia and a stroke.
Wyatt died while being treated at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is survived by his parents, Whitfield County Sheriff’s Deputy Wes Gibson and his wife, Alexis Gibson, and a nine-month-old sister, Alyssa.
All three tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It is unclear if the parents had been vaccinated.
Calhoun is the seat of Gordon County, where less than 40 percent of the area’s 58,000 residents have had at least one vaccine injection, according to the latest public health data.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 6,611 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county. Georgia state officials said that the two-week average in the county has risen from 16 two weeks to 38 a week ago to 88 as of Monday.
Statewide, Georgia has seen a 30 percent rise in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past seven days, with public health experts saying the contagious Indian Delta Variant now accounts for around 70 percent of those.
More than 480 Georgians were hospitalized with COVID in July. Of those, 416 were not fully vaccinated. Statewide, just 44 percent of Georgians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 18,600 Georgians have died and nearly 914,000 have been infected.
Wyatt Gary Gibson, 5, of Calhoun, Georgia, died on Friday after contracting COVID-19
Wyatt suffered complications from COVID-19, including pneumonia and a stroke
He is survived by his parents, Wes and Alexis Gibson, and a nine-month-old sister, Alyssa. All three have tested positive for COVID-19
Wyatt’s father published a heartfelt post on Facebook paying tribute to his son.
‘My little buddy. My best friend. My helper,’ the bereaved father wrote.
‘Wyatt was nothing [but] joy and happiness. We loved having fun and going on adventures together.
‘He loved his momma and his sister so very much, and he was always looking for ways to help.’
Gibson added: ‘He loved to build things. Big things! And then he loved showing them to Alexis and me.
Wyatt died while being treated at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee
‘My little buddy. My best friend. My helper,’ West Gibson, the bereaved father, wrote on his Facebook page
‘He loved the horses and the dogs. He was full of love, and brightened everyone’s world,’ Wes Gibson wrote
‘Wyatt loved Rock City and The Tennessee Aquarium. 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 wish this was one adventure that you did not start…
‘I have lost my best friend.’
On Saturday, Wyatt’s mother also wrote a post in honor of her late son.
‘There are no words….he was my “all days every days”,’ she wrote.
‘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.
‘I know you’re here with us, and thank you for guiding us home yesterday with those 5 beautiful rainbows, each one bigger than the last.
‘God’s got you building all kinds of things already.’
Amanda Summey, the boy’s godmother, launched a GoFundMe to help the family cover medical expenses.
As of Wednesday, the crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $30,000.
Wyatt is seen right with his father, Whitfield County Sheriff’s Deputy Wes Gibson
On Saturday, Wyatt’s mother, Alexis, also wrote a post in honor of her late son. ‘There are no words….he was my “all days every days”,’ she wrote
The number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Georgia has risen substantially over the past few weeks, mirroring a national trend that has public health experts worried.
It is extremely rare for a child that young to die of COVID-19.
According to state public health data, of the 18,600 Georgians who have died of the disease, 11 were children. Nationwide, 600,000 have died of COVID-19. Of those, 335 were under the age of 18.
There currently are no authorized vaccines for children under the age of 12.
Summey said that when Wyatt got sick, the family initially thought it was just food poisoning.
‘A day, two. No appetite, a little vomiting, a bit lethargic,’ the boy’s maternal grandmother, Andrea Mitchell, wrote in a statement to the Journal-Constitution.
‘He’d barely had more than the sniffle or two as prior illnesses go. Then the white tongue.
‘Alarmed, he was hustled off to the local hospital. Then the next day to TC Thompson Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga, TN.’
Doctors diagnosed Wyatt with strep and staph infections as well as COVID-19.
Like many other parts of the country, Georgia has seen an uptick in coronavirus cases in recent weeks
The state’s seven-day average of new cases stood at more than 803 on Tuesday, up from 365 on June 25
Eight people died on Tuesday, according to the latest data. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 18,600 Georgians have died of COVID-19
The chart above depicts the number of cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19 versus the number of cumulative deaths
‘We’d been so careful this whole time for it to find us now?’ Mitchell said.
‘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.’
Mitchell added: ‘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 12:05 p.m., Wyatt died. A massive stroke struck the soul of his brain.’
The state’s seven-day average of new cases stood at more than 803 on Tuesday, up from 365 on June 25.
Some 945 people were hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 while about 260 others had suspected cases.
A month ago, there were 423 people hospitalized with COVID, according to state data.
Both numbers are nowhere near January peaks, when the seven-day average topped 9,000.
But health experts said they show the need for more people to get vaccinated, particularly with the rise of the fast-spreading Delta variant of the virus.
Georgia has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. There currently are no vaccines authorized for children under the age of 12
Less than half of Georgia residents have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccine, according to public health data
The rate of vaccination in Georgia has declined in recent weeks – mirroring a trend in the rest of the country
Around 40 percent of Georgia residents have been fully vaccinated, according to the latest data
Georgia, a state whose population stands at around 10.8 million, is currently vaccinating residents at a rate of just a few thousand per month
Just 40 percent of Georgia residents are fully vaccinated, well below the rate in many other states.
The combination of a fairly low vaccination rate, the highly transmissible Delta variant and a general relaxation in mask requirements and other precautions is a ‘recipe for a potential tinderbox,’ said Sarah McCool, a professor in public health at Georgia State University.
McCool said she wants to see whether the state’s COVID-19 numbers continue to increase at the same pace over the next week or two, but the rise she’s seen so far is ‘certainly concerning.’
Other places in the country facing similar increases in COVID-19 cases have urged even vaccinated people to resume wearing masks in public.
Mississippi officials have recommended that people 65 and older and those with chronic underlying conditions stay away from large indoor gatherings because of a 150 percent rise in hospitalizations over the past three weeks.
The surging Indian Delta variant has reignited fears that the country could once again be forced into lockdown, reversing a trend of falling infections and hospitalizations made possible by the mass vaccination campaign.
More than half of Californians are being urged to wear masks indoors – regardless of vaccination status – as the variant continues to wreak havoc across the U.S.
At least 17 counties in The Golden State – home to 56 percent of residents – are asking people to wear face coverings in places such as grocery stores and movie theaters, reported The Los Angeles Times.
At least 17 counties in California – making up more than half of the state’s residents – are urging residents to wear masks indoors amid the spread of the Indian ‘Delta’ variant. Pictured: People wear face coverings as they pass through Union Station in Los Angeles, California, July 2021
The U.S. recorded 42,706 new cases on Tuesday with a seven-day rolling average of 37,056, which is a 244% from the 10,771 average recorded three weeks ago
Deaths have continued to remain relatively flat with 29 recorded on Tuesday and a seven-day rolling average of 274, 6.6% from the average of 257 recorded three weeks prior
Every single state – aside from Iowa – and the District of Coluimbia are reporting increases of COVID-19 cases this week
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the Delta variant has made up 83 percent of cases
Just one of those counties, Los Angeles County, is requiring masks to be worn in these public settings.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot warned on Tuesday that she might do the same as infections continue to rise in the city.
It comes as the US recorded 42,706 new cases on Tuesday with a seven-day rolling average of 37,056, which is a 244 percent increase from the 10,771 average recorded three weeks ago.
Every state aside from Iowa has seen infections rise or hold steady in the last week, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
Additionally, 298 COVID-19 deaths were recorded on Tuesday with a seven-day rolling average of 274.
Fatalities, which are a lagging indicator, have not dramatically risen but instead have slightly increased by 6.6 percent from the average of 257 recorded three weeks prior.
Health officials say this is because people now are protected by vaccines, though in states that have less vaccine uptake – such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee – hospitals are starting to fill up.
California has seen cases rise to an average of 5,063 per day, a 160% increase from 1,946 just two weeks ago, leading many counties to ask that masks be required
On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot suggested she may masks mandatory like Los Angeles County as cases increase 164% in a month from 34 per day to 90 per day and increase in in Illinois to 890 per day compared to 222 per day in June
Average COVID-19 cases in Missouri have risen by 38% from 1,245 per day to 1,728 per day in the last two weeks
The surge has been blamed on the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant, which now makes up 83.2 percent of all new infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Last week, Los Angeles County became the first in the country to require all residents to wear mask regardless of whether or not they’d been fully immunized.
The county is reporting about 13.5 cases per 100,000 and the test positivity rate has risen from 0.4 percent on June 15, when the state reopened, to 4.8 percent as of Tuesday
But at least 17 counties are similarly asking residents to mask up following their own increases.
For example, Santa Barbara County is reporting an average of 32 new COVID-19 cases per day, according to health department data.
While this is a low number on its own, it is four times higher than the average of eight cases per day that were being recorded in late June.
Meanwhile, Napa Valley County is recording about 12 cases per day compared to late June when just five cases per day were being recorded, according to local health officials.
‘All community members should take action to protect themselves and others against this potentially deadly virus,’ said Ventura County Health Officer Dr Robert Levin in a statement on Monday.
‘While vaccines remain our best tool against COVID-19, masking in indoor and crowded outdoor settings will help us curb the spread of this latest wave of infection.’
California overall has seen cases rise to an average of 5,063 per day, a 160 percent increase from 1,946 just two weeks ago, a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins data found.
Over the the same time period, COVID-19 hospitalizations increased from 1,506 to 2,447, a 62 percent jump, according to state data.
Since the Delta variant was first discovered in April, it has become the dominant strain, accounting for 56.8 percent of all cases, according to the CDC.
In Arkansas, COVID-19 cases have jumped from an average of 697 per day two weeks ago to 1,107 per day on Tuesday, an increase of 58%
Louisiana has seen average coronavirus cases soar 94% from 714 per to 1,387 per day over the last 14 days
Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she would implement a similar order to Los Angeles County if the city doesn’t get the virus under control.
Currently, Chicago is recording a seven-day average of 90 cases per day, an 164 percent increase from 34 cases reported last month.
In Illinois, cases are up to an average of 890 per day compared to 222 per day at this time last month, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
CDC data show the Delta variant makes up 43.1 percent of all new infections in Illinois.
‘If we allow the virus to linger here in Chicago, we will likely see further mutations, some of which our current vaccines may not be able to protect against, and have to reinforce some of the restrictions that infamously defined 2020 and part of 2021,’ Lightfoot said at a press conference on Tuesday.
She also noted that 90 percent of people hospitalized in Chicago are unvaccinated.
‘This is a reality we can avoid, and it’s preventable,’ Lightfoot said and urged residents to get their shots.
Missouri continues to be one of the nation’s COVID-19 epicenters with average cases rising by 38 percent from 1,245 per day to 1,728 per day in the last two weeks, according to DailyMail.com’s analysis.
The state’s vaccination rate is behind the national average with about 46 percent of residents having received at least one dose and 40 percent fully vaccinated.
Comparatively, 56.1 percent of the U.S. has received at least one dose and 48.6 percent are fully vaccinated.
The surge is due to the Delta variant, which has taken hold in the southwestern part of the state, where rates of at least one vaccine dose in some counties are as low as 15 percent.
In Greene County, where Springfield is located, the health department reported 251 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals on Monday, according to the St Louis Post-Dispatch.
This marks the first time that the figure has surpassed the record set last winter of 237 patients, which was reported on December 1.
Doctors say many of their patients are in their 20s, 30s and 40s in comparison with previous surges and nearly all are unvaccinated.
‘There’s so many COVID patients. They’re on so many different units,’ Dr Rachel Keech, who was recently deployed to Mercy Hospital Springfield to help treat patients, told the Post-Dispatch. ‘They’re everywhere.’
In nearby Arkansas, cases have risen from an average of 697 per day two weeks ago to 1,106 per day on Tuesday, a 58 percent increase, the DailyMail.com analysis found.
Arkansas has one of the worst vaccination rates in the country with only 35.4 percent of residents fully vaccinated, CDC data show.
According to the state’s department of health, 766 residents are hospitalized with the virus, an increase of 85 from Friday, and 124 are on ventilators, an increase of five.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the largest hospital in the state, told CBS News that all 23 COVID-19 beds are full with 56 patients in total, some of whom have to be housed in other wings.
‘To put it into perspective, our team is in the fourth quarter right now, or maybe even double overtime,’ Dr Cam Patterson, chancellor of the medical center, told the network.
‘This is not the first quarter for this team. They’re tired. It’s tough.’