As we continue our coronavirus coverage, we’re learning more about the victims that are succumbing to this devastating illness. What we’re seeing that aside from elderly victims, the coronavirus is also striking many people in their 40s and younger. As of today, an estimated 946,000 people have confirmed cases of the coronavirus while at least 47,000 have died, the New York Times reports.
Some of the most heartbreaking stories have emerged from this health crisis, including a 42-year-old mother of six named Sundee Rutter, who died in Washington on March 16. There’s also a sad story out of Texas of a healthy 44-year-old father of six children who died just two days after getting confirmation that he had the coronavirus.
BuzzFeed News reports that Adolph “T.J.” Mendez, from Texas Hill Country, in Central Texas, began to feel sick in early March. He thought it was just a cold. As of March 9, he was still playing basketball with his friends, but when he started feeling sick, he took over-the-counter drugs and visited the doctor. When his symptoms persisted, he returned to the doctor and was tested for the coronavirus on March 19. He was told to go home and self-quarantine, but he only got worse. On March 23, he returned to the hospital because his fever spiked, “That night, he was transferred to a hospital in Austin for an emergency surgery. The next day, his test results finally came back. He had COVID-19. By then, Mendez was fighting for his life, dealing with multiple organ failure,” the publication reports.
On March 26, just a couple of days after his test results came back that showed he did have the coronavirus, his family was informed that he had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage, and nothing more could be done to keep him alive.
“Before they unplugged him, they let us speak with him, they put the phone on speakerphone, and all of his family were able to say goodbye,” Brenda Johnson, Mendez’s daughter, told the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. “The nurses held his hands the whole time and made sure to tell us that he was never alone throughout his entire stay.”
Johnson adds, “We want people to know that they need to take this pandemic seriously — it is not just something that happens across the world. This can happen to anyone, just as it did us.”
To everyone reading this, take care of yourselves, those around you, and stay inside.