A 12-year-old girl with coronavirus is improving after 'fighting for her life'

This microscopic image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Days after a 12-year-old Atlanta girl was hooked up to a ventilator and struggling with coronavirus, the girl's condition is improving, her cousin said.

Emma is "slowly waking up out of sedation and is responding well to her dad and mom," Justin Anthony said.

An X-ray of Emma's lungs from Tuesday showed "good improvement," Anthony said, noting he has the approval of Emma's mother's to tell her story.

Emma's fight against coronavirus gained widespread attention Sunday, when CNN first reported on her case. At the time, Anthony said his cousin was "fighting for her life."

Her story illustrates how even young children with no preexisting health problems can suffer severe complications from the virus, which has infected more than 53,000 people in the US and killed more than 700.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta-Scottish Rite Hospital has confirmed it had a patient with coronavirus but declined to go into details.

Emma had no preexisting conditions and had not traveled recently, Anthony said. It's unknown how she contracted the virus, he said.

While the elderly and those with underlying health problems are most at risk of death from coronavirus, children are also contracting and spreading the virus, sometimes without symptoms.

Anthony wants the public to understand no one is immune to coronavirus.

"I know first-hand how dangerous it is," he said.

"Everyone keeps saying it doesn't impact younger people. But here's a 12-year-old," he said. "People need to practice social distancing. People need to take care of their children. People need to take this seriously."

CNN's Alta Spells, Melissa Alonso and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.

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