ATLANTA (CBS46) -- The death of a North Georgia boy who recently died from COVID-19 is raising concerns for parents, especially as the start of the new school year approaches.

The family of Wyatt Gibson said the 5-year-old was a healthy boy. That is until last week, his entire family, who live in Whitfield County, contracted the coronavirus, according to the boy’s godmother. Wyatt’s symptoms were the worse. The little boy suffered an extreme case of pneumonia and a stroke before he died on Friday.

“I have lost my best friend,” Wyatt’s father, Wes Gibson wrote on Facebook. “He was full of love and brightened everyone's world. Wyatt would wave to strangers in the grocery store, because he knew that it absolutely made their day.”

Wyatt’s untimely death sparked fear into parents like LeWanna Heard-Tucker, who has a 6-year-old daughter.

“It’s very disheartening, especially for a child who had no or little underlying morbidity,” Tucker said.

Of the 18,632 COVID deaths reported in Georgia, only eleven have been children, according to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health. However, with the delta variant rapidly spreading health officials warned unvaccinated Americans are at high risk.

As of Tuesday, the delta variant accounted for 83 percent of all new cases nationwide.

"The reason it is so formidable is the fact that it has the capability of transmitting efficiently from human to human in an extraordinary manner well beyond any of the other variants that we've experienced up to now,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Current vaccines have only been approved for individuals 12 and older. During an interview on CBS This Morning, Fauci was asked if the vaccine might be required for children returning to school.

"That's not a policy right now, don't anyone get confused by what I'm saying but... I would not be surprised that in the future this is something that would be seriously considered depending on how we handle the outbreak,” he responded.

Vaccine trials for children under 12 are currently being conducted, but there is no set timeline for when the vaccines will be available to the age group. Until they are approved for all ages, Tucker said those who are eligible for the shot should get it, as well as mask up, to protect the young, like 5-year-old Wyatt Gibson.

“Even if you don’t want to do it for you, do it for your kid,” she said.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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