Parents of Alabama boy hospitalized with COVID-19 say he couldn't breathe

A 12-year-old boy from Alabama was sent to the hospital struggling to breathe after he contracted the delta variant, ABC News reported Friday.

Brody Barnett, a seventh-grade student-athlete from Chilton County, told local news outlets that his battle with the virus at the hospital was a "scary experience," and added, "It ain't nothing to joke with."

Barnett's mother, GeriLynn Vowell, said her unvaccinated son was first exposed to the virus at the beginning of last week at a friend's house. Barnett later discovered his friend had the virus.


Vowell said that Barnett tested positive on Aug. 6.

"I tested Brody and his test popped up positive immediately," Vowell told ABC News. "Then we went to an actual testing site and it was the same result."

The night Barnett found he was positive, he had a runny nose and a cough. The next day, he experienced extreme symptoms, including trouble breathing and pain in his ribcage. 

"He's told his friends, 'This is the worst that I've ever been sick,'" his mother said.

"He was like, 'I cannot breathe, I cannot take a breath,'" she added. "He couldn't raise his arms over his head and take a breath."

She noted that she had tested negative for the virus but positive for the antibodies.


"My husband nor I have been vaccinated because we were positive for antibodies previously. We had just gotten the original COVID a few months back. So, we had just kind of been waiting to be vaccinated," Vowell told the news outlet.

She added that the pair would get the vaccine when they test negative for antibodies.

Barnett spent the night in the hospital where he was diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia, which is when the lungs fill with fluid making it difficult to gain oxygen, according to ABC. The doctor said his symptoms were consistent with the delta variant.

"It was scary," Vowell said. "The doctors said there's nothing we can do other than Tylenol or Motrin to treat symptoms."

Barnett is now home and recovering from his battle with COVID-19.