Kali Cook, of Bacliff, became the youngest COVID death in Galveston County since the pandemic began, and now her parents are regretting their decision not to get vaccinated against the virus.
‘I was one of the people that was anti [vaxx], I was against it,’ said mother Karra Harwood. ‘Now, I wish I never was.’
Harwood told The Daily News in Galveston that her daughter had no diagnosed immune disorders or other health conditions, but that she did tend to get sicker than her siblings.
Kali Cook, 4, was the youngest person to die of COVID-19 in Galveston County, Texas
Kali’s mother, Karra Harwood, went into quarantine after contracting the virus on Monday. It quickly spread throughout the family, claiming Kali’s life the following day
Most of the family was under quarantine after Harwood tested positive for the virus on Monday and had to be sectioned off away from the family.
Despite their efforts, the virus quickly spread, infecting her fiancé and her 5-month-old son, who had to be taken to the hospital.
By about 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Harwood noticed Kali had a fever, so she gave her some medicine and helped her go back to sleep.
By 7 a.m., when Harwood and her fiancé left for work, Kali had died.
But Kali’s condition continued to worsen, and by 7 a.m., she was dead.
‘She died in her sleep,’ Harwood said.
Kali, who had just started preschool, is among the 466 Galveston residents who lost their lives due to COVID, and she is the first resident younger than 20-years-old who succumbed to the virus.
Kali is among the 466 Galveston residents who lost their lives due to COVID
Galveston County Local Health Authority Philip Keiser called the death a tragedy that underlies the need for more vaccinations and caution during this phase of the pandemic.
‘This is a terrible thing, but I think people need to know about it,’ Keiser said.
‘It’s very important, if your kids are sick, not to say, ‘Oh, they’re going to be OK.’ ‘If your kids are sick, go seek out medical care.’
Harwood hoped that sharing her daughter’s story would change people’s minds about COVID.
She encourage people to understand that although statistically rare, children can die from COVID and are left susceptible as vaccines are only available for those ages 12 and up.
Harwood’s mother, Terena Pike, had previously posted skepticism about the vaccine, but now Harwood said that she and her fiancé, who she says has a lung condition, were considering getting vaccinated.
The family also started a GoFundMe to help pay for Kali’s funeral costs.
‘We are all so broken and lost and just trying to figure out how we are gonna get [through] this life without her light,’ Harwood wrote on the site.
Neither Karra or her fiancé were vaccinated against COVID-19. Now she says both of them are considering getting vaccinated after the virus killed her daughter and hospitalized her son
Kali enjoying a meal with her grandmother, Terena Pike, who spoke out against the vaccine
Kali’s grandmother made social media posts questioning the COVID vaccine’s effectiveness
Kali’s joins more than 60,000 Texans who have died from COVID as the delta variant continues to ravage the Lone Star state.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported nearly 20,000 new COVID cases and 400 new deaths as of Friday.
The delta surge had also brought national daily COVID-19 cases up to nearly 300,000 in August, and although cases began to dip in September, the U.S. had experienced another dramatic uptick on Thursday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 163,000 new cases, and nearly 1,650 new deaths nationwide.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that 200,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the week of August 26, the second highest weekly total recorded during the pandemic.
Children also accounted for over 19,000 of the 812,000 hospitalizations recorded that week. While week-over-week totals did increase, it was at a much lower rate than the 50 percent increase from the previous week.
As of September, about 0.04 out of every 100,000 children ages 17 and under were hospitalized for COVID-19.