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'He could make anybody smile' | CMS first grader dies from COVID-19

CMS confirmed the child attended Stoney Creek Elementary School.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Saturday, Ethan Govan, will be laid to rest.

Mecklenburg County Public Health confirmed an elementary-aged child died of COVID-19. The death was reported to them last week. WCNC Charlotte would later learn from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools he was a CMS student at Stoney Creek Elementary School.

Govan's mom, Sharon Snowden-Huff said her son never met a stranger and was a loving, kind young boy.

“Ethan was 6 years old. He was very loving, smart,” Snowden-Huff said. “He just made everybody that met him fall in love with him.”

He had a smile that lit up any room.

“His smile was very infectious. Even if you were having a bad day just to see him smile would be like you know what my day is nothing, I’m having a better day now,” his mom said.

According to a GoFundMe page created by Snowden-Huff, even as he fought a very hard battle, that smile never left his face. She didn’t want to talk about how he died.

Ethan now marks the second pediatric COVID-19 death in the county this year. The latest data shows in the last two weeks, 14.5% of all cases have been in kids 9 or younger and nearly 11% in 10- to 14-year-olds.

It's spilling into children's hospitals too.

“We are seeing significantly higher numbers than we've ever seen of pediatric patients getting admitted,” Dr. Solange Benjamin-Thrope with Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital said.

Doctors say in general most kids have mild cases, but not all and with the delta variant spreading, they're urging parents to vaccinate children who are eligible and mask up when out in public.

“It's very difficult to predict which children get sick. It's not the children that have underlying diseases. It's the kids that are otherwise healthy, and 20% of kids who are hospitalized go into the intensive care unit. So that's a substantial number,” Dr. Amina Ahmed with Atrium Health said.

Each number is a person, and has a family who loves them.

“He never met a stranger,” Snowden-Huff said. “He could make anybody smile.”

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