Family Mourning After 10-Year-Old Girl Dies Just Days After Getting COVID: 'It's Not Fair'
A Virginia family is in mourning after their 10-year-old daughter died of COVID-19, just days after she started feeling sick.
Nicole and Jeff Sperry said their daughter Teresa had no underlying conditions, and first developed a headache on Sept. 22.
"We thought it was just a simple headache," Nicole told CNN. "I get headaches; migraines run in our family. We gave her medicine and she felt better. The next day, when she came home from school, she passed out, she went straight to bed, and she doesn't do that. She hasn't wanted to take a nap in a long time."
Teresa woke up from that nap with a fever, so they kept her home from her school in Suffolk the next day and called their pediatrician, who scheduled a COVID test and told them to keep her quarantined.
Just a few days later, on Sunday night, Teresa seemed to stop breathing and they rushed her to the hospital. The next afternoon, on Sept. 27, she died.
"She was healthy and strong. And it took her down in five days," Jeff said. "If it can take her, it can take anybody."
Nicole said Teresa "was a very caring person" who loved to help out at school.
"[I] always said that she was my mini-me. When she was born, she came out looking exactly like me," Nicole said. "None of my boys look like me. She had my same personality, my same smile. She made a point to make sure to make friends with everybody. She would wave and say hi to random people; compliment them on their hair, or their shirt. She just always thought of others."
Nicole and Jeff are both fully vaccinated, as are their two older sons who are old enough to be eligible, but Teresa and their 9-year-old boy were too young. Jeff has since developed a breakthrough case of COVID-19 that he's currently fighting, but wanted to speak with the media because he wants "to make sure this doesn't happen to other families."
Nicole said that the evening after Teresa died, their school board held a meeting where "there were people there that said, 'COVID is over,' that it doesn't affect healthy people, that it doesn't kill healthy people, that we could basically get on with our lives."
"If it was over, my daughter would still be here. We wouldn't be doing these interviews. We wouldn't be preparing for her funeral. And it upset me so much that people just are so nonchalant about it. While my only girl is gone," Nicole said, crying. "It's not fair."
The couple said they're sharing their story to encourage people to get vaccinated and protect the kids who can't do the same.
"The only way this makes sense is for her to save people," Jeff said. "I don't want other people to have to do what we're doing right now."
The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Healthy Living newsletter
This story originally appeared on people.com