A Texas preschooler died of COVID-19 this week within hours of a fever first coming on, her family says. Kali Cook, 4, died in her sleep early Tuesday morning, about five hours after she was found to have a fever, her mother Karra Harwood told the Houston Chronicle.
“Kali was perfectly fine, and then she was gone,” her mother was quoted saying. “It took her so fast.”
The preschooler at Bacliff’s Kenneth E. Little Elementary School had enjoyed a pleasant evening with her family less than 12 hours before becoming the youngest child to die of the virus in Galveston County.
Kali had just started preschool last month—and she loved it, telling her mother that she “can’t wait to go to school.”
The rambunctious 4-year-old passed away just one day after her mother, brother, and 5-month-old sister learned they were infected. The family is currently quarantined at home.
The Galveston County Health Department confirmed that a young girl died of COVID-19 died on Tuesday morning, calling it “the first in someone 10 and younger” in the county.
Both Harwood and Galveston County health officials are unsure of where Kali contracted the virus. Health officials have expressed doubt about the possibility of Kali contracting it in her classroom.
As the family holes up in their home, financial realities have begun to seep in. Harwood started a GoFundMe page to help pay for Kali’s funeral and medical expenses. So far, they’ve raised $16,568 of their $20,000 goal. In the page’s description box, Harwood writes that Kali’s “heart was too pure for this cruel world” and describes how the family is collectively “broken and lost” while attempting to navigate their grief.
The donation page is filled with comments sending their best to the family. “Pro-Vax or Anti-Vax, no one should lose their child at such a young age. I am deeply sorry for your loss,” wrote Rene Ureta.
Kali’s tragic death comes amid a massive surge of the delta variant, which has plagued young children at rates far higher than expected. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of Sep. 10, at least 2,384 children have contracted COVID-19 in the state.