Georgia boy, 5, dies of COVID-19 complications, including stroke

A 5-year-old Georgia boy with no underlying health problems has died from complications from COVID-19, his family has said.

Wyatt Gary Gibson of Calhoun, whose entire family contracted the coronavirus, succumbed Friday to what loved ones called an extreme case of pneumonia and stroke.

Wyatt died while being treated at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He leaves behind his parents, Wes and Alexis Gibson, and a nine-month-old sister, Alyssa.

All three tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It is not clear whether the parents have been vaccinated.

Calhoun is the seat of Gordon County, where less than 40 percent of the area’s 58,000 residents have received at least one vaccine, according to the latest public health data.

Wyatt Gary Gibson, 5, of Calhoun, Georgia, died Friday after contracting COVID-19

Wyatt suffered complications from COVID-19, including pneumonia and stroke

Wyatt suffered complications from COVID-19, including pneumonia and stroke

He leaves behind his parents, Wes and Alexis Gibson, and a nine-month-old sister, Alyssa.  All three tested positive for COVID-19

He leaves behind his parents, Wes and Alexis Gibson, and a nine-month-old sister, Alyssa. All three tested positive for COVID-19

Wyatt’s father, Whitfield County Sheriff’s Deputy Wes Gibson, made a heartfelt post on Facebook in tribute to his son.

‘My little friend. My best friend. My helper,” wrote the grieving father.

Wyatt was nothing [but] joy and happiness. We loved having fun and going on adventures together.

“He loved his mother and his sister very much, and he was always looking for ways to help.”

Gibson added, “He loved to build things. Big things! And then he was thrilled to show them to Alexis and me.

Wyatt died while being treated at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennesseea

Wyatt died while being treated at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennesseea

'My little friend.  My best friend.  My helper,

‘My little friend. My best friend. My helper,” West Gibson, the grieving father, wrote on his Facebook page

“He loved the horses and the dogs.  He was full of love and brightened up everyone's world,

“He loved the horses and the dogs. He was full of love and brightened up everyone’s world,” Wes Gibson wrote

Wyatt loved Rock City and the Tennessee Aquarium. He loved to play outside, help in the garden and help with the horses.

“He loved the horses and the dogs. He was full of love and lit up everyone’s world.

Wyatt waved at strangers in the grocery store because he knew it made their day.

“In a way I know you’re still around, but I miss you so damn much! I wish this was an adventure you hadn’t embarked on…

“I lost my best friend.”

On Saturday, Wyatt’s mother also wrote a message in honor of her late son.

“There are no words….he was my ‘all day every day,'” she wrote.

Wyatt was nothing but pure love and the perfect overload of happiness.

‘We see you everywhere we look Bitty Wy and I can still feel you holding my hand.

“I know you’re here with us, and thank you for leading us home yesterday with those 5 beautiful rainbows, each bigger than the last.

“God already lets you build all kinds of things.”

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 well with his father, Whitfield County Sheriff's Deputy Wes Gibson

Wyatt is seen well with his father, Whitfield County Sheriff’s Deputy Wes Gibson

On Saturday, Wyatt's mother, Alexis, also wrote a message in honor of her late son.  'There are no words.... he was mine "every day every day",' she wrote

On Saturday, Wyatt’s mother, Alexis, also wrote a message in honor of her late son. ‘There are no words….he was my ‘all days every day’,’ she wrote

The number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Georgia has risen significantly in recent weeks, in line with a national trend that worries public health experts.

It is extremely rare for a child to die so young from COVID-19.

According to state public health data, of the 18,600 Georgians who died from the disease, 11 were children. Nationally, 600,000 have died from COVID-19. Of these, 335 were under the age of 18.

There are currently no approved vaccines for children under the age of 12.

Summey said that when Wyatt became ill, the family initially thought it was just food poisoning.

‘One day, two. No appetite, a little throwing up, a little listless,” maternal grandmother Andrea Mitchell wrote in a statement to the Journal-Constitution.

“He had hardly had more than a few sniffs as previous illnesses go. Then the white tongue.

Alarmed, he was taken 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 parts of the country, Georgia has seen an increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks

Like many parts of the country, Georgia has seen an increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks

The state's seven-day average of new cases was over 803 Tuesday, up from 365 on June 25 25

The state’s seven-day average of new cases was over 803 Tuesday, up from 365 on June 25 25

“We’d been so careful all along to find us now?” said Mitchell.

“He was fighting for his life. His mother, awake for four days, never goes away between persuading him to keep going and fighting and begging him to stay.’

Mitchell added: “His father, the backbone of the family, who was now coughing from COVID himself, stood next to him in silent concern, unbelievable what he saw. Then it ended.

Wyatt passed away on July 16, 2021 at 12:05 PM. A huge blow struck the soul of his brain.’

The state’s seven-day average of new cases was more than 803 Tuesday, up from 365 on June 25.

About 945 people were hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, while about 260 others had suspected cases.

A month ago, 423 people were hospitalized with COVID, according to state data.

Both numbers don’t come close to the January peaks, when the seven-day average hit 9,000.

But health experts said they show that more people need to get vaccinated, especially with the rise of the rapidly spreading Delta variant of the virus.

Georgia has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.  There are currently no vaccines approved for children under the age of 12

Georgia has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. There are currently no vaccines approved for children under the age of 12

According to public health data, less than half of Georgia's residents have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccine

According to public health data, less than half of Georgia’s residents have received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccine

Vaccination rates in Georgia have fallen in recent weeks - in line with a trend in the rest of the country

Vaccination rates in Georgia have fallen in recent weeks – in line with a trend in the rest of the country

According to the latest data, about 40 percent of Georgia's residents are fully vaccinated

According to the latest data, about 40 percent of Georgia’s residents are fully vaccinated

Georgia, a state of about 10.8 million inhabitants, is currently vaccinating residents at the rate of just a few thousand a month

Georgia, a state of about 10.8 million inhabitants, is currently vaccinating residents at the rate of just a few thousand a month

Only 40 percent of Georgia’s residents are fully vaccinated, far below the rate in many other states.

The combination of a fairly low vaccination coverage, the highly transmissible Delta variant, and a general relaxation of mask requirements and other precautions is a “prescription for a potential tinderbox,” said Sarah McCool, a professor of public health at Georgia State University.

McCool said she wants to see if the state’s COVID-19 numbers continue to climb at the same pace over the next week or two, but the increase she’s seen so far is “certainly concerning.”

Other places in the country experiencing a similar increase in COVID-19 cases have even urged vaccinated people to wear masks in public again.

Mississippi officials have recommended that people age 65 and older and those with chronic underlying conditions stay away from large indoor gatherings because of a 150 percent increase in hospitalizations in the past three weeks.

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