Kali Cook died in her sleep at home on 7 September, within hours of showing symptoms of the coronavirus. She was unvaccinated, with children below the age of 12 not yet eligible for inoculation.
Her mother Karra Harwood, however, was also not jabbed and described herself as against vaccination. “I was one of the people that was anti, I was against it. Now, I wish I never was,” she told The Daily News.
Kali’s death comes amid reports of an increasing number of Delta variant cases being observed in children in the US.
Last month, the Galveston County health district recorded 1,382 cases of the virus in children younger than 12. Texas, till last week, reported at least 24 Covid-19 related deaths in children under the age of 10.
The child lived in Bacliff with her father, mother and four siblings, who were in quarantine after contracting the virus.
“I ended up getting Covid-19 and was diagnosed on Monday,” Ms Harwood said. “I came home and was isolated. I tried to stay away from her and didn’t want her and my other kids to get it.”
According to her mother, Kali’s temperature increased at 2am and she was given medicine to try and bring the fever under control.
But by 7am Kali had died in her sleep, according to Ms Harwood. The child had no diagnosed immune disorders or other health conditions, she added.
“I did not murder my daughter. There are people getting vaccinated that are still getting Covid and they can still spread Covid,” the mother told news channel KPRC-TV.
The Galveston county medical examiner’s office confirmed the child’s death was due to Covid-19 on 9 September after conducting examinations.
Health officials in a press statement said they didn’t believe the girl was infected at her school where she was studying in pre-kindergarten. Further contact tracing showed no students or adults who were in contact with the child tested positive for the coronavirus.
Officials on 10 September conducted an autopsy to find out other information, including pre-existing health conditions that might have led to the girl’s death.
Ms Harwood’s five-month-old baby has also been infected with the virus, she said. “I’ve taken him to the hospital every night since because I feel like they’re not getting better, and I’m terrified,” she added.
A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that children made up at least 0.27 per cent of all Covid-19 deaths in 43 US states. In August, the city of Houston reported its first paediatric Covid-19 death with no underlying health conditions.
Kali’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to gather expenses for her funeral.