- A 5-year-old boy named Wyatt Gibson died with COVID-19 in Georgia in an exceedingly rare case.
- Wyatt was “nothing but pure love and the perfect overload of happiness,” his mother said.
- Cases have surged in Georgia as the state lags behind the US average in vaccinations.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A 5-year-old boy in Georgia died with COVID-19 in a vanishingly rare case.
Wyatt Gibson, who died Friday, had no underlying conditions before he got get sick, Amanda Summey, his godmother, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He had been diagnosed with COVID-19 as well as strep throat and a staph infection, Andrea Mitchell, his grandmother, told the paper.
Six percent of COVID-19 cases in Georgia have been reported in children under 11, and just five children have died with the virus, state data indicates. Vaccines have not been authorized for use in children under 12.
Cases in the state have surged; the seven-day average of new infections rose from about 300 in mid-June to more than 1,000 in mid-July, according to The New York Times’ cases tracker.
Mitchell said in a statement provided to The Journal-Constitution that Wyatt had “barely had more than the sniffle” before getting COVID-19.
“No appetite, a little vomiting, a bit lethargic,” Mitchell said. “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.”
The next day he was taken to a children’s hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, she said.
Wyatt’s father, Wes, posted an emotional tribute on Facebook that described Wyatt as a boy who loved playing outdoors and building things.
“He was full of love, and brightened everyone’s world,” Wes Gibson wrote. “Wyatt would wave to strangers in the grocery store, because he knew that it absolutely made their day.”
Wyatt’s mother, Alexis, posted a video on Sunday of Wyatt running around a garden with a small guitar and singing, “I love you, trees and birds, and I love donkeys, and I love dogs.”
“Wyatt was nothing but pure love and the perfect overload of happiness,” Alexis Gibson said in a post accompanying the video.
Wyatt’s father and baby sister have also tested positive for COVID-19, Summey told The Journal-Constitution.
Several US states have reported a slight rise in hospitalizations of children with COVID-19, highlighting the importance of adults getting vaccinated to protect them, Insider’s Hilary Brueck and Kelsie Sandoval reported.
Lisa Smith, a pediatric surgeon and COVID-19 advisor in Hamilton County, Tennessee, told News Channel 9, an ABC affiliate, that “the most important thing to realize is that while children may be at low risk, they are not at no risk.”
In Georgia, 38% of the population has been fully vaccinated, compared with a 49% nationwide average, according to The Times.