Wyatt Gibson, a 5-year-old boy from Murray County, Georgia, and the son of a Whitfield County sheriff's deputy, died Friday after complications from COVID-19.
Lt. Wes Gibson and his wife, Alexis, mourned their loss in a Facebook post on Sunday.
"I have lost my best friend," Gibson wrote. "Wyatt was nothing [but] joy and happiness. We loved having fun and going on adventures together. He loved his momma and his sister so very much, and he was always looking for ways to help. In a way I know that you're still here, but I miss you so damn much! I wish this was one adventure that you did not start "
Juan Martinez, a fellow employee at the Whitfeld County Sheriff's Office, called Gibson "a dedicated public servant of Whitfield County that truly cares about our community.
"He is one of the best of us at the Sheriff's Office," Martinez wrote.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, Wyatt Gibson is the fourth child in the state under the age of 10 to die from COVID-19.
Amanda Summey, a family friend who organized a GoFundMe for the family, said Wes Gibson and Wyatt's grandmother, Andrea Mitchell, tested positive for COVID-19. The boy's mother tested negative. Summey said Wyatt had a stroke as a result of his COVID-19 infection.
"All we know is a bright light has left," Mitchell wrote in an email to the Times Free Press. "He left rainbows everywhere for us to see. We'll be constantly reminded, saddened, then maybe in time, make peace with it. For there was so much life in this 5-year-old boy. So much joy."
When asked Monday night if any of the family members were vaccinated for COVID-19, Summey said she wasn't sure.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Mitchell wrote that a vaccine for COVID-19 "wouldn't have made a difference in any case for they don't vaccinate children."
"And the vaccines carry their own risk factors as they are slowly being proven," Mitchell wrote.
Georgia, along with 46 other states, has seen an increase of COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, according to New York Times data. Georgia's 193% rise in cases over the past two weeks exceeds the U.S. average of 140%.
The state ranks 44th in terms of the percentage of its population that is fully vaccinated, at 37.5%, according to Becker's Hospital Review.
The GoFundMe page has raised more than $23,000 to help pay medical bills and funeral costs for the Gibson family.
Contact Patrick Filbin at email@example.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.