A Virginia family tries to understand how their healthy 10-year-old daughter died of COVID-19 in five days

(CNN Spanish) – A Virginia family is trying to process how their 10-year-old daughter went from being perfectly healthy to dying of COVID-19 in five days.

As they process their abrupt and profound loss, their message to those who do not believe in covid-19 is simple and direct: have compassion for others. If sharing the story of your daughter Teresa makes at least one person change their mind and get vaccinated against covid-19 or put on a mask to protect others, they say they did the right thing for her.

Teresa went to Hillpoint Elementary School in Suffolk, about 30 km from Norfolk, Virginia, where there is a mask mandate. His parents, Nicole and Jeff Sperry, have been vaccinated, and so are his two Mator children. Teresa and the couple’s youngest son, 9, were not vaccinated but were looking forward to being eligible.

Teresa’s covid-19 symptoms began with a headache on Wednesday, September 22, and a fever the next day. After consulting the family pediatrician on Friday 24, which is part of the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters children’s hospital network, they coordinated a covid-19 test for the following Monday, September 27.

However, on Sunday night Teresa began to have a persistent cough so bad it made her vomit, so Nicole took her to a local emergency room, where she was tested for strep throat, which came back negative, as well as one of covid-19, the results of which were pending.

Dr. Fauci asks parents to vaccinate their children 0:59

“They did a chest X-ray and when they came back they said there were no signs of COVID-19 pneumonia, that his lungs were perfect, beautiful. They didn’t seem worried,” says Nicole. So they went home and Teresa remained in quarantine.

Within a 24-hour period, she stopped breathing, was rushed to a local hospital, and eventually to the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk, where she died.

Parents advocate ending the mask-wearing mandate

On Monday, while Nicole was sitting next to her daughter’s lifeless body in the emergency room, trying to understand how quickly they had lost their beloved daughter, less than 15 km away, in the school district where Nicole teaches, a two-hour school board meeting was held in which parents advocated for the mask-wearing mandate to be dropped. Comments such as “At first we did not know anything about the covid, but now we do know that it is nothing to fear if you are healthy” and “the covid is indeed over” are some of the phrases that were heard on camera during the meeting.

“At the same time that I was by my daughter’s bedside, the Chesapeake Public Schools had a school board meeting and I had friends who came back and told me later that while I was sitting next to my daughter, I was no longer with us, there were adult parents there saying basically that the covid is over and that healthy people do not die, especially children, “said Nicole.

“And I am sitting next to my dead daughter, who was perfectly healthy, who is a girl who did everything she had to do,” he added.

The differences between allergy, flu, cold and covid-19 2:54

A “perfectly healthy daughter”

Aside from a broken arm bone when she was younger, Teresa was a healthy, happy and sociable 10-year-old who had never had the flu or even an ear infection, Nicole said.

Jeff described his daughter as an avid reader, smart, pretty, loving, and always ready to help and care for others, but the couple believe that charitable character may have contributed to her death.

“One of the things she told us before she got sick was that her job was to be the ‘class nurse’ to take sick children from class to the infirmary,” Jeff said. “And you have to understand that my daughter, that’s how she is, helping people is my daughter, it’s not something I wouldn’t have wanted to do,” he added.

California will force students to get vaccinated against covid 1:03

At Hillpoint Elementary School, the protocol is for the classroom teacher or an adult to contact the main office with a “Code C” if a child feels ill and one of the administrators or a member of the nurse’s office from school goes to class to pick up the boy, Dr. John B. Gordon III, superintendent of the Suffolk Division of Public Schools, told CNN last Thursday. “We are still investigating to make sure this process was followed faithfully,” he said.

“Our daughter was perfectly healthy,” Nicole wrote on Facebook. “And I would still be here if people had stopped sending their sick children to school.”

After spending some time with virtual classes, Teresa was eager to get back to the classroom this school year, her mother said.
“All the kids grow up saying ‘I hate school’ and they (the Sperry kids) are the first generation of kids that have grown up and now say ‘I wish I was in school, I miss school, I miss my friends,'” Jeff said. .

There have specifically been no cases of covid-19 in Teresa’s class, Gordon told CNN.

“There were zero cases prior to the tragedy with Teresa, and there are zero cases as of (the time of) my communication with you. Contact tracing is currently ongoing,” he added.

While the number of children who tested positive for COVID-19 fell slightly, they still accounted for a large percentage of all new cases in the United States in the last week compared to the previous week. They made up 27% of all reported cases nationally, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Monday.

‘Covid is real and it doesn’t matter who it takes’

As of last Friday, the Virginia Department of Health had recorded a total of 12 deaths of children and adolescents in the state since the beginning of the pandemic, department spokesman Logan Anderson told CNN. Teresa’s death increases the number to 13.

Six of those deaths occurred in the 0-11-year-old range and seven in the 12-19-year-old range, he said.

“People have to step up and take this more seriously,” Nicole said. “It’s about showing compassion for others. It doesn’t take much to wear a mask or get vaccinated if you’re medically fit,” he added.

In a letter to the families of Suffolk public school students on Tuesday, Gordon announced Teresa’s death but did not name her.

Mother gives birth and dies of covid-19 within a few days 4:12

“I am his mother and this regrettable letter excuse should not have been published without at least one phone call from him,” Nicole wrote on Facebook. “I’m not going to hide anymore. My beautiful girl was taken away from me because people are too damn selfish to care about what might happen to others. I was not. We were not. We wear our mask because there are too many in our tribe that are at risk. My daughter was not at risk. And now she is gone, “he added.

“The Suffolk Public Schools is heartbroken over the tragic loss of one of our students, Teresa Sperry,” Gordon said in a statement to CNN on Thursday. “It is our intention to support the family, the school and our entire school community during this very difficult time,” he added.

“We will continue to follow our mitigation strategies of wearing masks, washing hands and practicing physical distancing. The school division also encourages vaccination of both staff and students (if eligible),” he added.

A friend created a PayPal fund to help cover unexpected expenses for funeral services, which The Sperrys say will be planned after Jeff’s quarantine ends.

“We did everything we could do and now we have lost a part of our heart, Nicole wrote on Facebook.” Covid is real and it does not matter who it takes.

1 thought on “A Virginia family tries to understand how their healthy 10-year-old daughter died of COVID-19 in five days”

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