A devastated family have shared their heartache after their baby girl died from Covid just two weeks before her second birthday.
Queensland toddler Ruby Grace Edwards tested positive to the virus on July 14 but the illness triggered a ‘rare auto-immune condition’ which caused her immune system to attack her brain.
It’s understood she developed Acute Hemorrhagic Leukoencephalitis (AHLE) – an inflammatory disease of the brain which also effects the spinal cord.
Tragically the one-year-old died on Sunday, leaving her parents shattered as they prepare for the birth of their son on Friday.
Ruby Grace Edwards tested positive to the virus on July 14 but the illness triggered a ‘rare auto-immune condition’ which caused her immune system to attack her brain
‘She fought long and hard but unfortunately, the condition was too aggressive, ruthless and relentless,’ her father Steven Edwards wrote on Facebook.
‘Thanks to her treatment, we don’t believe she suffered any pain during her fight and was able to leave this world peacefully.
‘It feels like the world is falling apart for us right now, as we prepare for the arrival of our son this Friday.
‘This is supposed to be such a happy time where our family would become complete but is now so broken.’
Mr Edwards said he and his family were all hurting and urged parents to hug their kids ‘a little tighter’.
He said despite dealing with Covid himself and sleep deprivation he wanted to be strong for his son.
‘I only have to hope there is another side, where this means something, where there is hope, where there is happiness and peace,’ the father said.
‘I want to get there so desperately, I want to shield our son from this, I want him to only know of love and joy.’
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Edwards family move forward.
Ruby is only the 14th person aged nine or under to lose their life after contracting the virus in Australia and is the youngest to die with Covid in Queensland.
Little Ruby died on Sunday as her heartbroken family prepare for the birth of her baby brother
It comes as the Palaszczuk government on Tuesday predicted the current wave of the virus would be around 50 per cent worse than the previous strain.
Experts originally anticipated hospitalisations to peak around the 1000 case mark but have since reassessed, forecasting them to reach 1660.
QLD Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard estimated new and more contagious Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 would become the dominant strains within ‘two weeks’.
However, he stressed that intensive care admissions remain low for all strains of the virus, due to the effectiveness of vaccines.
‘We must stress that all Covid-19 variants can cause severe illness, especially in vulnerable people,’ Dr Gerrard said.
‘This virus will continue to mutate so we all need to remain vigilant and responsive by staying home when sick, washing your hands regularly, keeping your distance from others where possible and wearing a face mask when you can’t.’
Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 have been both detected in Queensland and NSW, with cases rising in recent months.
Australia’s chief medical officer, professor Paul Kelly, warned older Australians and people vulnerable to Covid should have a plan to combat the virus before they test positive.
Prof Kelly said much like asthma and other respiratory illnesses, people should have a treatment plan in place if they’re more at risk of severe disease from the coronavirus.
‘Don’t wait for the time you may be diagnosed with Covid because early treatment is the key,’ he told reporters in Canberra.
Two oral antiviral treatments – Lagevrio and Paxlovid – are available for people vulnerable to severe effects of Covid.
‘Now is the time if you’re in those vulnerable groups to have that conversation … (so you) know exactly where you can access those medications and know exactly how to use them,’ he said.
But he stressed the oral treatments were not a substitute for being vaccinated.
‘(Treatments are) not for everyone. It’s not needed for everyone,’ he said.
‘Most people with Covid will have a relatively mild disease, particularly if they’ve been vaccinated … This is an extra protection for vulnerable people.’