FORT WORTH, Texas — Inside of Clevetta Brown’s home in the Eastwood neighborhood of Fort Worth, the grandmother wipes surfaces and cleans religiously.
Brown says her household has lived in a bubble since the pandemic began. Her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren live with her.
She thought they were doing everything to stay safe from COVID-19, but a critical piece was missing.
No one in the family was vaccinated.
“I never thought that we would get COVID,” Brown said.
Then, they did. One by one, her entire family tested positive for COVID-19 after her son-in-law came into contact with someone who had the virus.
“The week that we were gonna get our COVID vaccine, we caught COVID,” Brown said.
It all spiraled from there.
Brown says her 3-year-old granddaughter, Adynn Miracle Hicks, ended up at Cook Children’s in Fort Worth. There, Adynn developed double-pneumonia and spent about eight days at one of the hospital’s pediatric intensive care units. She spent her third birthday in the hospital and was just released last week. She has a pre-existing condition. Brown said her 4-week-old grandson was also hospitalized after he developed a high fever.
“When you experience it, it puts a whole different light on COVID,” Brown said.
Brown regrets hesitating to get the vaccine.
“I was hurting for myself, I was hurting for my grandkids,” said Brown. “When I say overwhelming, it was overwhelming. I cried, all I can do is cry and pray. I didn’t see my grandbaby for 10 or 11 days.”
On Wednesday, Dr. Mary Suzanne Whitworth, a medical director of infectious diseases at Cook Children’s, said the hospital’s current COVID-19 surge is worse than what hospital staff experienced as far back as eight months ago.
Whitworth said the Brown family's experience is becoming all too common.
“When we have someone in the hospital now, I always say, ‘How is your family doing?’ and it’s almost universal that they say everybody at home is sick,” said Whitworth. “It’s just gut-wrenching that they don’t have a family member that’s healthy enough to be with them.”
Dr. Whitworth anticipates the COVID surge will keep getting worse before it gets better.
The latest data from the Texas Department of State Health Services posted on August 16, 2021, showed there were 12,402 people in the hospital with COVID-19 across Texas. That's a 337% increase from the same time last month, when 2,834 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized across Texas.
Brown hopes sharing her family’s experience will encourage others not to take a gamble with the virus.
“Get the vaccine. I encourage you deeply to get the vaccine, because to suffer with COVID for the whole family and watching your grandbaby in the ICU with COVID…it’s real, and I don’t think people [are] taking it serious,” Brown said.