United Kingdom

Infant who was one of youngest to catch Covid-19 is now a 'bundle of smiles'

A premature baby whose battle for life became a symbol of hope at the height of the pandemic has turned one. 

Theo Stobbs, from Brierfield, near Burnley, Lancashire, was only four-weeks-old when he was photographed being handed to his mother in a hospital's neonatal intensive care unit. 

The infant, weighing just over two-and-a-half pounds, wore just a white nappy and a little woolly hat as he was lifted out of an incubator. 

Strict Covid-19 rules meant that both his mother Kirsty Anderson, 34, and nurse Kirsty Hartley had needed to put on a green Covid-19 mask before the loving handover could take place. 

Theo Stobbs, from Brierfield, near Burnley, Lancashire, is now a 'happy, healthy baby' who is a 'bundle of smiles' after being born three months early and being one of the youngest people to catch Covid-19. Pictured, with mother Kirsty

Theo was only four-weeks-old when he was photographed being handed to his mother in a hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (pictured)

Today Theo is a happy, healthy baby - a bundle of smiles who's well on his way to learning to crawl. 

To get to this point he has had to overcome not just being born three months early, but also being one of the youngest people in Britain to catch the lethal bug. 

Both he and his mother tested positive after a single trip into the outside world from their home. 

Miraculously, Theo's brother Arlo, two, avoided the sickness despite frequently taking the infant's dummy from his mouth and sneaking off with it. 

'It's been a surreal time, but somehow Theo has helped us all get through it,' said energy broker, Kirsty.

Both Theo and his mother tested positive after a single trip into the outside world from their home. Miraculously, Theo's brother Arlo, two, avoided the sickness despite frequently taking the infant's dummy from his mouth and sneaking off with it (pictured: Theo now) 

Theo is now one, but his parents only had an hour with him on the day he was born and they had to take turns at visiting him for weeks afterwards 

Her baby weighed only 2lb 4oz when he was born at Burnley General Hospital on April 20. She was allowed only a single quick kiss before he was whisked away to an incubator. 

His skin was so thin that neither she nor her partner Leon Stobbs, 35, a self-employed plumber and gas engineer, could stroke him - all they were allowed to do was gently cradle him in a containment hold. 

The first nine weeks amounted to a fight for life. Luckily medics had managed to give his mother two steroid injections after her waters broke.  

And that gave him a crucial head start by allowing his lungs to mature just a little before he was born. Later, he went through three blood transfusions to help raise his oxygen levels. 

The first nine weeks amounted to a fight for life. Luckily medics had managed to give his mother two steroid injections after her waters broke and that gave him a crucial head start by allowing his lungs to mature just a little before he was born

The tot finally came home in June, waved away from the NICU by many of the staff who had cared for him (pictured now) 

His parents had only an hour with Theo on the day he was born. For weeks afterwards they had to take turns at visiting him - Kirsty during the day, Leon in the evenings after he'd finished work. 

Kirsty and Arlo were living temporarily with her parents, Leon in a separate bubble at the family home where he finished the work he'd only just started on Theo's nursery. 

The tot finally came home in June, waved away from the NICU by many of the staff who had cared for him. 

But then in October his mother tested positive for Covid-19 - and two days later he did too. 

'I went into meltdown,' explained Kirsty. 'We'd been so strict about shielding him that not even his grandparents had been able to hold him.  

'And Arlo only got to know him at the start from pictures and videos on my mum's phone.' 

Kirsty said that when Theo tested positive for the virus, she 'went into meltdown' as they had been so strict with shielding him that even his grandparents hadn't held them 

Kirsty remains Facebook friends with both the nurse who handed her Theo in the iconic photo and many of the other NICU nurses at Burnley General

Despite catching the virus, Theo suffered no more than a slight cough. His mother only lost her sense of taste and smell for a time.  

'He's fabulous now, and you wouldn't even know he'd had the virus,' said Kirsty. 'He's a happy and healthy little baby. 

'Arlo is absolutely obsessed with him. And whenever Theo hears his brother's voice he's immediately looking for him. They're so cute together.' 

Kirsty remains Facebook friends with both the nurse who handed her Theo for the first time and many of the other NICU nurses at Burnley General. 

Meanwhile, the iconic photo of Theo's hospital handover sits proudly in a frame on the family's mantlepiece.   

Football news:

Griezmann spoke with Hamilton and visited the Mercedes boxes at the Spanish Grand Prix
Barcelona feels that Neymar used it. He said that he wanted to return, but extended his contract with PSG (RAC1)
Aubameyang to the Arsenal fans: We wanted to give you something good. I am sorry that we could not
Atletico did not lose at the Camp Nou. Busquets' injury is the turning point of the match (and the championship race?)
Verratti injured his knee ligaments in PSG training. Participation in the Euro is still in question
Neymar's contract in one picture. Mbappe wants the same one
Manchester United would like to sign Bellingham in the summer, not Sancho. Borussia do not intend to sell Jude