It is not known where the child, who rode a bus to a school for special-needs children and underwent regular hospital treatments, caught the illness. He is now the youngest COVID victim in Florida.
FLORIDA — Daequan Wimberly, a child with a sweet smile and a sunny disposition who became the soul of his North Miami Dade church, is the state’s youngest victim of the virus to date. He was 11 years old when he died June 30 at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
His passing was included in the number of deaths linked to COVID-19, one more number listed among the almost 4,000 deaths reported across the state by the Department of Health.
But when the number has a face, especially the face of a young child, it ceases to be a statistic to become a stark reminder of the devastating human toll taken by the spread of the virus.
A Loving Little Boy
At 18 months old, Daequan, who since birth fought medical issues, including kidney problems that required him to undergo dialysis treatments three times a week, joined the family of Bishop Jerry Lee Wimberly as a medical foster child. Four years later Wimberly adopted the boy, whom he described to the Miami Herald as “a very loving person, full of life, involved in church.”
Ill with a fever, on June 19 Daequan was diagnosed with COVID-19. He was having trouble breathing. At this time, it is not known where the boy, who rode a bus to a school for special-needs children and underwent treatments at Jackson, caught the illness.
“He somehow or another contracted the virus in his goings day to day, and the virus got the best of him,” Wimberly told South Florida TV station WSVN. “Though he was 11 years old, age doesn’t matter. The virus doesn’t care.”
The 74-year-old pastor could not be by his son’s side when he succumbed to the illness. He too had contracted the virus and remains hospitalized.
A GoFundMe page was set up to help with Daequan’s funeral expenses.
Children at Risk
Although it appears that children are not at higher risk for COVID-19 than their adult counterparts, they can still contract the disease and, in some cases, require hospitalization, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More than 7,000 children under 18 have tested positive for the disease in Florida since March. Of those, at least 2,865 were confirmed to be in South Florida.
In June, two Florida teens who had been hospitalized, a 17-year-old boy in Pasco County and a 16-year-old girl in Lee County later died from coronavirus related complications, according to the Florida Department of Health.