Family warns of Delta variant after boy, 12, develops COVID pneumonia


An Alabama family is warning others to take the latest COVID-19 outbreak seriously after the Delta variant left their 12-year-old hospitalized and unable to breathe.

Seventh-grader Brody Barnett picked up the deadly bug Aug. 6 after visiting a friend who was sick with the virus, ABC News said.

After quickly developing a cough and trouble breathing, the boy landed in the hospital with COVID pneumonia, calling the ordeal a “scary experience.”

“It ain’t nothing to joke with,” said Brody, whose doctor said he had symptoms consistent with the Delta variant.

His mother, GeriLynn Vowell, said her son was proof that “kids do get sick and [the virus] is real.”

“We’re not out to condemn or condone or any of the political side of it,” Vowell said. “I just want to make other mamas and parents aware that it is real for kids and kids do get sick and it’s a scary thing when they do.”

Brody, who was not vaccinated, struggled to breathe after being admitted to Children’s of Alabama hospital.

The Delta variant of COVID-19 has been spreading across the United States.
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

“It was scary,” Vowell said. “The doctor said there’s nothing we can do other than Tylenol or Motrin to treat symptoms.

“He was like, ‘I cannot breathe, I cannot take a breath,'” she said. “He couldn’t raise his arms over his head and take a breath.”

She said the hospital wing had “probably a dozen kids or more” with the virus.

Vowell said her son is now recuperating but still suffers shortness of breath and has “big coughing spells,” with his nights “still pretty rough,” she told the outlet.

She said she and her husband were not vaccinated because they previously tested positive for antibodies, saying “we had just kind of been waiting to be vaccinated.”

Recent weeks have seen a resurgence of the coronavirus that has killed more than 600,000 Americans since the outbreak of the pandemic — with the more contagious Delta variant spreading through the country.

The variant has hit hardest in states with low vaccination rates and is now infecting a younger population as well.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, nearly 94,000 children were infected in the week ending Aug. 5 — or roughly 15 percent of all cases across the US.

Children under 12 are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

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