Wyatt Gibson, a 5-year-old boy from Calhoun, Georgia, died last week from Covid-19, according to a report. The child had no previous health conditions and was completely healthy when he succumbed to the deadly virus, which has seen another wild surge driven by the unvaccinated and the new Delta variant.
Gibson, who is one of only 11 Georgia children who died of Covid-19 since the pandemic started, passed away Friday. The occurrence is rare, as CDC statistics indicate only 335 of the 600,000 people who have died from the virus in the United States were under 18 years old.
Wyatt Gibson was healthy, according to his godmother, Amanda Summey, who spoke to reporters on behalf of the boy’s grieving parents. When he first started showing symptoms, the 5-year-old’s family believed it was food poisoning.
“A day, two. No appetite, a little vomiting, a bit lethargic,” Andrew Mitchell, Wyatt Gibson’s maternal grandmother said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
The boy was quickly diagnosed and treated for strep and staph infections, along with Covid-19. His grandmother explained that the family had “been so careful this whole time for it to find us now.” She said “he was fighting for his very life. His mother, up for four days, never leaving between cajoling him to moving and fighting and begging him to stay.”
According to the family, both Wyatt Gibson’s father and younger sister, Alyssa, also tested positive for Covid-19. While their symptoms began to appear, the 5-year-old took a turn for the worse. On the afternoon of July 16, little Gibson died from a massive stroke induced by the virus and its horrifying symptoms. He passed away at the Chattanooga hospital where he was receiving his intensive treatments.
In Tennessee, the youth mortality rate from Covid-19 is even slimmer, with only five children under the age of 11. More than 10,100 people have succumbed to the virus in the state since the pandemic began.
Wyatt Gibson’s case, while rare, is still being investigated by state health officials. When questioned by reporters, the hospital spokesperson claimed that she could not discuss his case due to federal privacy laws.
Wyatt Gibson’s family is heartbroken over his death and is trying to understand why, after all this time, Covid-19 was able to take him from them. In a heartbreaking Facebook post, the Georgia boy’s father, Wes Gibson, called Wyatt “my little buddy. My best friend. My helper.”
“Wyatt was nothing joy and happiness,” his father wrote in the post. “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. He loved to build things. Big things! And then he loved showing them to Alexis and me.”
Wes Gibson continued, admitting that “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.”
Wyatt Gibson’s father concluded the post by pulling at heartstrings. “In a way, I know that you’re still here,” he wrote. “But I miss you so damn much! I wish this were one adventure that you did not start… I have lost my best friend.”
After the Calhoun boy’s tragic death, his godmother, Amanda Summey, created a GoFundMe to support the family during this harrowing time. The money raised will help pay for medical bills, funeral costs, and other small costs that arise while the family attempts to heal. Since its creation on Sunday, the GoFundMe has raised over $30,000.
The boy’s mom, Alexis Gibson, has not made a public statement regarding her son’s death, however, Wyatt’s father, Wes Gibson, made a second Facebook post to honor his son and thank those who took the time and resources to support his family.
“Thank you. I know I speak for Alexis as well when I say thank you all so much,” Wes wrote on Facebook, Tuesday. “To everyone that has reached out, helped out, sent food, sent prayers, donated, and so many other things. Thank you. 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.”
Wyatt Gibson’s death comes during a startling surge in Covid-19 cases. Since its major drop in early June, the virus has come back forcefully, with an average of 28,000 new cases in the country in the last seven days. On June 10, there were no new confirmed cases, according to CDC, but on July 19, there were over 55,000 new confirmed cases.
As the virus continues its surge, the public is wary of another quarantine. As mask mandates return across the country, many questions are rising as to what is causing this new spike. The CDC warns that the deadly Delta variant is a large cause in rising cases, as even vaccinated people can catch the virus. Medical professionals also warn that the large number of unvaccinated individuals is also a major cause for concern.