As the delta variant of COVID-19 causes cases to surge nationwide, one mom is pleading for people to get vaccinated as cases of COVID in kids are also on the rise. One mom in Tennessee is begging people to take COVID-19 seriously because her 9-year-old-daughter is currently fighting for her life in the pediatric ICU after contracting the virus.
Mirsada Muric and her daughter, Blair, have been in the East Tennessee Children's Hospital since last month because Blair was hospitalized after developing COVID pneumonia and RSV, and was placed on a ventilator. Muric tells a local Knoxville news station that she's been in the pediatric intensive care unit for two weeks, and though she's off the ventilator now, her health hit a dire point after about a week in the hospital.
"The doctor came in with tears in his eyes and just said, 'I have to vent your child,'" she said. "Her heart was trying to give out, so we had the talk of the DNR and just talks that I didn't want to have. I cry when I just sit there and watch her," Mirsada said. "You feel so much helplessness and you grieve for your child."
Muric says one of the most frustrating parts about her daughter contracting COVID is all the misinformation she sees individuals post on social media, particularly Facebook.
"I'd get on their Facebook and see them posting memes or sharing things that they saw on Twitter about how much of a joke it is about being 'scared' of a virus and yes, I am scared of it," Muric said. "I'm scared for my child and I can't wrap my head around the idea of not wanting to wear a mask or not wanting to wash your hands, when that could be the easiest helping hand that you can give to someone."
She shared her thoughts on her own Facebook page in a public plea for people to take the virus seriously.
"I want to share this photo because while I sit here praying and crying out to God that my baby pulls through I am STILL seeing people complain about the possibility of another mask mandate," she wrote recently. "Or they are making jokes about going on unemployment. Or they STILL think covid is a joke and is "not that serious".. LOOK AT MY CHILD. THIS is why people are afraid. THIS is why people beg for you to wear a mask. Who are you hurting by wearing one? What freaking rights are you losing?!"
NPR reports that nearly 94,000 kids tested positive for COVID-19 just last week, and that those children accounted for 15% of all cases. That's a 31% increase over the roughly 72,000 cases reported just a week earlier. In the week before that, there were 39,000 new child cases.
Muric says that Blair likely contracted the virus during a memorial service for her father, who sadly passed away last month. Blair was also diagnosed with a brain tumor in February, which means she's part of two different vulnerable populations: unvaccinated children and immunocompromised individuals.
"With her tumor, it was different ... almost easier," Muric wrote in a Facebook post last week. "We had a game plan, plan B and a follow-through. This is just a waiting game."
Though Blair is now getting a little better each day, Muric says she still desperately wishes people would take the virus more seriously—especially in light of the highly contagious delta variant and the fact that children are still unable to receive the vaccine. She tells NBC News that she plans to get Blair vaccinated as soon as it's available.
I don't want this to be a political thing and I understand that it's everyone's own personal choice and opinion," she said. "But do the research and don't get the research off of social media."
You can donate to a GoFundMe set up for the cost of Blair's care here.