A Florida family is mourning the loss of an 8-year-old girl who died after showing signs of a rare but serious syndrome associated with the new coronavirus, her father said.
Deaurra Nealy, a second-grader at Twin Lakes Academy in Jacksonville, died Sunday – just days after showing signs of coronavirus-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), her father, Dearick Nealy, told local news WJXT station.
“A perfectly healthy child who just has a normal stomach ache and a negative COVID test,” he said. “And then her fever wouldn’t break.”
MIS-C is a condition that often causes inflammation in various parts of the body, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal tract, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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Symptoms of the condition often include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, and fatigue.
At present, doctors do not know exactly what causes MIS-C. But many children who develop it “have had the virus that causes COVID-19, or have been around someone with COVID-19,” according to the CDC.
Neely said his daughter was tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, indicating that she was infected with the virus at one point.
“She aspired to be excellent in everything, her grades. She was all 100 and 95 and she thought that wasn’t good enough. That’s the type of person she was,” he recalled. He wanted to pick up the people and light the room when he entered. I mean, she’s inspired so many people in such a short time. I just knew she was just the perfect kid. “
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After the death of her daughter, Neely encouraged others to continue to take COVID-19 seriously – especially if they have children.
“Many people are told that COVID-19 does not affect children. And that’s why many people become lazy with simple sanitation measures such as masks and hand sanitizers – just something simple,” he said. “It’s to help not pass this on to anyone else.”