A 4-year-old Texas girl has died of COVID-19 — which she likely contracted from her mom, a staunch anti-vaxxer, the grieving parent said.
Little Kali Cook died in her sleep at home in Bacliff last Tuesday, just five hours after she woke in the early hours with the first signs of a fever, mom Karra Harwood told local media.
“Kali was perfectly fine, and then she was gone,” the shattered mother told the Houston Chronicle. “It took her so fast.”
Harwood said she had tested positive the previous day, with her and her fiancé, William Tucker, already out of work because they were sick and quarantining at home.
“I tried to stay away from her and didn’t want her and my other kids to get it,” she told the Galveston County Daily News of Kali and her brother and 5-month-old sister, both of whom also got infected.
The mom admitted that she now regrets opposing COVID-19 vaccines. In Texas, the vaccination rate is just a fraction over 50%, Johns Hopkins University data shows.
“I was one of the people that was anti, I was against it,” she told her local paper of the shots.
“Now, I wish I never was,” she admitted.
Kali was the first child to have died of COVID-19 in Galveston County during the pandemic, which has seen nearly 50,000 confirmed cases and more than 470 other deaths there, according to local health officials.
“This is a terrible thing, but I think people need to know about it,” area health official Philip Keiser told the Galveston County Daily News of the youngster’s death.
“It’s very important, if your kids are sick, not to say, ‘Oh, they’re going to be OK,’ ” Keiser said. “If your kids are sick, go seek out medical care.”
Kali had just started pre-kindergarten classes, but there is no suggestion she got infected there, officials said. Contact tracing has not shown her being close to anyone who was infected other than her family, the reports said.
The county reflects the Lone Star State average with around 50% so far vaccinated, although a recent spike in infections from the Delta variant has seen an uptick in those getting the shots, the local paper said.
Meanwhile, Harwood has launched an online fundraiser to help while she and her fiancé are still out of work — and it quickly surpassed their goal of $20,000.
“Her heart was too pure for this cruel world and God decided he needed another beautiful angel on his side,” they wrote of Kali.
“We are all so broken and lost and just trying to figure out how we are gonna get [through this life] without her light,” the pair added, saying they are “overly stressed and hurting.”
Harwood told the Galveston County Daily News that her daughter had been “so funny and sassy.”
“She wasn’t your average little girl. She’d rather play with worms and frogs than wear bows,” the mom said.
“She was just so pretty and full of life.”