(CNN) — The Arkansas father of a 1-year-old who is hospitalized with COVID-19 is telling people to get vaccinated so that another parent doesn’t have to face the uncertainty and fear that he is experiencing.
When Carter Butrum started showing cold-like symptoms last week, his parents tested him for COVID-19. That test came back negative, but when symptoms worsened, Carter was tested again. This time, it tested positive.
Now the baby is in the hospital and they gave him oxygen. Carter’s mother is with him, but due to the hospital’s mitigation measures related to COVID-19, his father, Kyle, and sister Kayden are unable to visit him.
Kyle Butrum told CNN’s John Berman on Friday that he has heard from many people asking how they can help, and appreciates it, calling it a “very nice gesture.”
“But the seriousness of the situation is that there is nothing you can do to help me,” he told CNN’s John Berman on Friday morning. “I can’t go to the hospital, I can’t even help him.”
“The only thing you can do to prevent someone else from going through this is to get vaccinated so that another child doesn’t have to do this and another family doesn’t have to get away from their child,” Butrum said, crying. “So another parent doesn’t have to stand in the back of an ambulance and wonder if this is the last time they’ll see their child.”
“I hate to be so blunt about it, but there is nothing you can do to help me,” he said. “The only thing you can do to help me is help the next person.”
Covid-19 hospitalizations are on the rise once again, while infections are on the rise and vaccination rates are on the decline. But now, patients tend to be younger than in previous waves.
Children account for a higher proportion of hospitalizations now than in January, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows, and hospitalization rates among children under 18 are hovering around an all-time high.
Federal data shows that the number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 in several states including Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Louisiana has doubled in the last week.
Children under the age of 12 like Carter are not yet eligible for the covid-19 vaccine, so vaccinating the people around them is the best way to protect them.
Carter’s older sister Kayden described her brother as a happy baby who doesn’t cry often. “He always wants to play,” he said. “He likes to go for a walk. He’s very energetic, so seeing him very exhausted hurts a lot.”
When asked about Carter’s condition, Butrum said, “It has been very easy,” although things have improved in the last 24 hours. The baby is still on oxygen and his doctors are treating the buildup in his lungs, Butrum said. On top of that, his fever has remained low, Butrum said, calling it “a good sign.”
“Really, the thing that hurts him the most at this point outside of oxygen is exhaustion,” he said. “It is very difficult for anyone when they cannot sleep, but especially for someone who does not understand the seriousness of the situation.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism