• The teen's family had recovered from COVID-19
  • The 13-year-old's mother said she was hesitant to miss time off work to get the teen vaccinated
  • Child COVID-19 cases make up 17.3% of all infections reported in the U.S.

An unvaccinated 13-year-old in Chicago nearly died of COVID-19 just days after testing positive for the virus, prompting his mother to encourage people to get vaccinated against the disease.

Sebastian, along with his siblings and his mother Talia Iracheta, was diagnosed with COVID-19 this December. However, while Iracheta and her kids recovered, Sebastian’s condition quickly spiraled. 

"I noticed he started coughing up blood and after two days of that, his breathing was getting progressively worse, so we decided to the emergency room," Iracheta told ABC 7 Chicago.

Sebastian, who was not vaccinated, was initially taken to Stroger Hospital in Cook County, Illinois, but was later transferred to the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital when his condition declined rapidly.

"When you are sitting there looking at your child and you don't know if they are going to live or not, you don't know if they are going to make it it's a struggle to see," Iracheta added. 

The teen’s condition improved following the hospital stay. He was discharged Wednesday. 

Sebastian had been eligible to get the vaccine from a Cook County clinic. However, Iracheta said she hesitated about missing time off of work, adding that she believed there were still other times to get the 13-year-old vaccinated. 

Iracheta said she now regrets not taking her son to get vaccinated and is begging other parents to get their children the shots. 

As of Dec. 16, a total of 7,366,865 COVID-19 cases among children were reported in the United States. The figures represent 17.3% of all infections reported in the country since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Between Dec. 9 and Dec. 16, health officials recorded 169,964 new child COVID-19 cases, representing 23.7% of the infections reported within that week. Overall, there were 9,788 child COVID-19 cases per 100,000 children, according to a state-level data report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Hospitals and medical staffers are now preparing to treat a surge of coronavirus patients over the Christmas holiday as the highly transmissible Omicron variant drives up case numbers in the country. 

The United States has so far reported 51,814,125 coronavirus cases and 815,343 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University data

The experts warned in a report of a growing risk of 'critical infrastructure' including hospitals being overwhelmed The experts warned in a report of a growing risk of 'critical infrastructure' including hospitals being overwhelmed Photo: AFP / Ina FASSBENDER