• The four-year-old died hours after she developed a fever
  • The child tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of her death
  • The U.S. has recorded more than 5 million pediatric COVID-19 cases

A four-year-old girl from Texas died in her sleep in what health officials believe to be COVID-19-related.

Kali Cook had been happy and playful on Labor Day, according to her mother, Karra Harwood. However, the child developed a fever early in the morning of Sept. 7. She died in her sleep shortly after.

A medical examiner officer at Galveston County later confirmed that the four-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 after her death. She did not have any underlying medical conditions, Harwood told WLOX

Officials for the Galveston County Health District are now linking the child’s death to COVID-19, but noted that they are still investigating Kali’s official cause of death. 

COVID-19 cases involving the younger population are surging across the United States, with more than 243,000 children testing positive for novel coronavirus the past week. From Aug. 26 to Sept. 9, there were 495,154 pediatric COVID-19 cases reported across the U.S., a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association showed. 

The figures show a 240% increase from the number of cases reported in early July when children accounted for over 71,000 cases. Pediatric COVID-19 cases also rose over the summer as children returned to in-person classes. As of Thursday, nearly 5.3 million children have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. 

Children also represented nearly 29% of all new confirmed cases reported between Sept. 2 to Sept. 9., the AAP report noted.

Overall, the U.S. has reported 5,292,837 child COVID-19 cases, representing 15.5% of the total number of infections the country has recorded since the beginning of the pandemic.

Currently, it is estimated that there are 2,200 children with COVID-19 in hospitals. Of the total hospitalizations, 377 children are admitted in Texas, 258 in Ohio and 168 in Florida, according to ABC News.

As of Monday, only children ages 12 and older were eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. However, the Food and Drug Administration is likely to authorize a Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in children ages 5 to 11 by the end of October, according to a prediction by former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. 

“It could take longer to get an authorization, but the agency will be in a position to make an authorization, I believe, at some point late fall, probably early winter,” he said. 

Children are returning to school in Mexico after more than a year of distance learning Children are returning to school in Mexico after more than a year of distance learning Photo: AFP / PEDRO PARDO