UTICA, NY – On Monday, Xavier Harris was his usual happy self. The 4-year-old was unable to sit still, run around the house and tease his older brothers. He was a stream of movement, his mother said.
But Xavier – who was called Xavy by the family – got a fever that day, said his mother, Chantel Brooks. Like any child, he had a fever before, and it was not too high, so his mother gave him some Tylenol.
On Tuesday, Brooks learned that her mother had tested positive for Covid-1
She called his pediatrician, who said not to bring him to emergency care, but to monitor his symptoms.
Six days after he first fell ill, the spunky, tough, super-active, 40-pound Xavier was dead. Brooks said doctors told her he died of cardiac arrest as a complication of Covid.
“I miss my little guy who calls my name 57 times a day just to tell me ‘hey,'” she said Thursday. “I miss him crawling into bed with me. Now I see and he’s not there. I can not sleep. “
Covid deaths among children are very rare.
In the state of New York, only nine children aged 9 or younger have died of Covid, according to the State Health Department.
Children make up 0.07% of all Covid-19 deaths, according to a report this month by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, based on data from 42 states. A total of 172 children nationwide have died from Covid, the report states.
Xavier, who was in pre-K in Utica, had been very healthy, his mother said.
“He was not a sick child at all. He had no underlying circumstances, “she said. “I am the one who has had cancer and is diabetic. Everyone was afraid I was going to get it, which is why we wore masks all the time and used Instacart. ”
When Xavier did not get better and the fever rose to 104, Brooks drove him to St. Luke’s Hospital emergency room in Utica on Wednesday morning. She told them that her mother tested positive for Covid, so they tested Xavier, but he was negative.
They did an X-ray of the chest, she said and found two white spots on the lungs. They inserted an IV, as he could not hold anything down, including fluids, she said.
Brooks said she asked if he could take a new Covid test. This time Xavier tested positive.
At Christmas, Xavier was still in the hospital, but the fever broke out and he started asking for something to drink. He talked, smiled and told the doctors that he just wanted to see the movie “Toy Story 4” and go home. The doctors said that if he continued to make progress, he would be released the next day.
Brooks called her two other sons, Darell, 12, and Jeremiah, 10. They said they wanted to wait for their little brother to come home Saturday before opening presents.
Suddenly on Friday, Xavier began to struggle to breathe, Brooks said. Another X-ray of the chest showed that the spots on the lungs had increased. Early Saturday morning, they drove him to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, she said.
I Upstate emergency room, he was surrounded by doctors and nurses, which Brooks said was wonderful for him. Xavier was conscious, talking and asking for his mother.
“He did not seem so ill,” she said. “He wanted to smile at the doctor, but would not be touched by anyone. He told me he wanted to go home. ”
The doctors who took care of Xavier let his mother hold his hand.
“Do not leave me,” the mother remembers the son saying. She assured him that she did not want to go anywhere until he went with her.
Suddenly Brooks said she heard the machine stop beeping next to his bed.
“They drove me out of the room to work with him, but I saw his face and I knew he was gone,” she said. “I knew it was bad, but I was hoping they could do something to get him back.”
Xavier passed away at 07.20 the day after Christmas. Brooks said she was told he had cardiac arrest as a result of Covid.
The doctors let her into the room to see her son, and she sat for a while holding her hand and telling him how much she loved him.
“I love you, and I’m so sorry,” Brooks remembered, telling him over and over.
Brooks, a 32-year-old single mother, is left with a big hole in her heart and many questions. Why her son? Why did this happen?
Xavier was a welcome surprise, she said, born after she had an abortion and was not sure she could have more children.
“I lost my miracle child,” she said. “I do not feel normal anymore. I feel like I’m not complete. ”
Brooks said Xaiver died and his funeral on Wednesday, saying she was comforted by the support of family, friends, colleagues from Utica City School District, where she is a teaching assistant, and also from strangers. People have sent cards, brought food and contributed to a fundraiser to pay for funeral expenses.
More than 150 people watched the funeral at Zoom or went through the ring time a few people at a time, she said. It helps, but Brooks said it will not bring his son back.
Brooks and her two sons have tested negative for Covid. The mother’s only symptoms were a cold and a cough. She’s recovered now.
Brooks wants people to know that getting coronavirus can happen to you, young or old. No one is safe, no one can be sure they will recover.
“We followed the guidelines,” she said. “How can it spread so fast? To me, it’s just crazy. I do not want anyone else to experience what I have just been through. ”
Elizabeth Doran covers education, suburban government and development, news and more. Do you have a tip, a comment or a story idea? Contact her anytime at 315-470-3012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org