US: 5-year-old dies from coronavirus after complaining of headache
A five-year-old Michigan girl who complained to her parents a month ago of a headache has died after contracting the coronavirus.
After spending two weeks on a ventilator, Skylar Herbert of Detroit died Sunday.
She had tested positive for COVID-19 in March and later developed a rare form of meningitis and brain swelling.
Her mother LaVondria, who is a police officer, said Skylar’s improvement had stopped, and that doctors said she was possibly brain dead. Her father is a firefighter.
‘We basically just knew she wasn’t coming back to us,’ LaVondria told the Detroit News reports.
Skylar is believed to be the first child infected with the coronavirus to die in Michigan.
Her parents say they don’t know how Skylar contracted the virus and that she had no other health issues.
Before her, the youngest person to die from COVID-19 was 20, according to Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Skylar went into the hospital on April 3 and developed meningoencephalitis, a rare complication of the coronavirus, which caused swelling of brain tissue and a lesion on her frontal lobe, her parents said.
A spokesman for Beaumont Health called Skylar’s death a ‘tragedy.’
‘The loss of a child, at any time, under any circumstances, is a tragedy. We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child. We extend our deepest sympathy to Skylar’s family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus,’ the spokesman wrote in a statement.
There have been 31,348 confirmed cases in Michigan of the coronavirus, which has been blamed for 2,389 deaths.
Across the US there have been 759,204 confirmed cases and 40,276 deaths.
Skylar’s death follows another virus-related death that resulted in concerning complications.
A 58-year-old woman with COVID-19 last month at Henry Ford Health System came down with acute necrotizing encephalitis. It was the first time the virus was associated with a central nervous system infection that usually afflicts kids.
Skylar’s first symptoms did not immediately signal she was infected with COVID-19.
Her parents Ebbie and LaVondria Herbert brought Skylar to a doctor on March 23 for a nagging headache that wasn’t alleviated by medication. When she tested positive for strep throat, the child was sent home with antibiotics.
‘She had been crying all night and saying the headache would not go away,’ said LaVondria Herbert, 46.
‘We called the doctor back, and they told us that it takes the medication 48 hours to kick in and to give it some time, but because she was crying so bad, I told my husband we needed to take her to emergency because I just didn’t know.’
Her parents took Skylar to Beaumont Royal Oak where she tested positive for the virus. The headache and a mild fever were considered side effects.
Skylar was released a day later, but returned to the hospital within hours.
‘We went back to emergency at the Beaumont Hospital’s Farmington campus because I noticed my husband was coughing and having shortness of breath,’ Herbert said. ‘Me and Skylar waited in the car, but out of nowhere, Skylar began complaining about her head hurting again and then she just threw up.’
The mother wrapped Skylar in blankets after her temperature was around 100 degrees and the child began shivering. Then she had a seizure.
‘(I told her) Skylar, look at your daddy, Skylar, look at your daddy,’ her father Ebbie Herbert, 48, said he said to his daughter.
‘She came out of the seizure and me and her mother ran back into the emergency room.’
Skylar was admitted to a pediatric Intensive Care Unit where her family learned of the meningitis.
‘I would whisper in her ear and say, ‘Skylar, hold your leg up. Just think about it really hard and hold your leg up.’ And with my assistance, she did,’ LaVondria said of her only child.
But Skylar never opened her eyes again.