Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Memphis high school student dies days after contracting COVID-19, family says


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) – A 16-year-old football player from Memphis died from COVID-19 and pneumonia over the weekend, his family says.

The principal at Westwood High School sent out an automated message Sunday to students and parents about the death of Azorean Tatum but did not say how he died.

Quintina Bucker said her son, who went by the name Zo, collapsed at school on Aug. 13 and was taken to Baptist Children’s Hospital, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

“The school called me and then called the paramedics who rushed him to the hospital from there,” said Buckner. “He couldn’t stand up or anything.”

She said her son was treated and released and in the days that followed continued to get worse.

“I gave him Tylenol and stuff like that because he was already COVID positive,” said Buckner. “When it seemed like it was just getting worse, I called the paramedics, and they took him to Le Bonheur, and he passed at Le Bonheur.”

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital confirmed a child died of the illness there over the weekend but did not identify the child.

Buckner said her son, who had asthma, was vaccinated. She said Zo appeared to be the picture of health at the start of the school year and believes he caught the coronavirus at school.

“He wasn’t wheezing, he wasn’t coughing, he was just happy-go-lucky. He was at school for three days, and he just drastically got sick. It’s unbelievable,” Buckner said.

She said Zo was a lovable, outgoing boy who knew how to speak his mind. Despite what happened to her son, she is encouraging everyone to get fully vaccinated.

“I’m not saying the outcome wouldn’t be different, but, you know,” said Buckner.

The family is still making funeral arrangements. A friend has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help with expenses.

Le Bonheur said right now, they’re treating 28 children with COVID. Eight of the patients are in the ICU, and two are on ventilators.

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