Families of COVID-19 Victims Warn Others About New Disease

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
March 18, 2020Updated: March 18, 2020

Families of people who have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new CCP coronavirus, are warning others to take the illness seriously.

The Epoch Times refers to the new virus as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Relatives of Alvin Simmons, a 54-year-old worker at Rochester General Hospital in New York state, said he felt sick one day, threw up blood a few days later, and was placed on life support before he died a week after the symptoms began.

“I want everybody to know that it’s real please just self-quarantine yourself. Do what you got to do. Don’t go out here,” said Michelle Wilcox.

“It’s not a joke, please be out here safe. Wash your hands, do the self-distancing, it’s not a joke,” said Wilcox.

Another victim was identified by Illinois officials as Patricia Frieson, a 61-year-old retired nurse who suffered from bad asthma.

Her brother said the case highlighted the danger of the new disease.

coronavirus under microscope
This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (orange), the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the United States, emerging from the surface of cells (green) cultured in the lab. Photo published on Feb. 13, 2020. (NIAID-RML)

“It is real. It is real. There is no fooling around with this,” Anthony Frieson told WGN-TV. “I know my sister had pre-existing conditions but it’s a very serious condition when you get these symptoms. … It’s terrible. We lost a wonderful person. … Everyone needs to take this as serious as possible.”

James Carriere, a resident of a New Orleans retirement home, died on Tuesday morning from COVID-19.

“For it to hit very close to him opened my eyes to the seriousness of this virus,” Beth Carriere Sullivan, the daughter of the 80-year-old, told The Advocate.

Family members of another victim, 97-year-old Eddie Roberts of Texas, decided to not hold a funeral service “out of respect and concern for those who knew and loved” the man, according to an obituary.

Rita Fusco-Jackson, a 55-year-old religious education teacher, died last week in New Jersey. Her death was linked to John Brennan, a horse trainer who was the state’s first death from COVID-19.

Six members of Fusco-Jackson’s family have contracted the new illness, her sister Elizabeth Fusco told the NJ Advance Media.

“This has been devastating for all of us,” Fusco, 42, told the outlet. “Our hearts are broken over losing our sister, Rita. We just need help in saving our family members with life-saving medication.”

Other members of the family are awaiting test results.

The parking lot at Hilltop Mall
The parking lot at Hilltop Mall sits empty in Richmond, California, on March 17, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Symptoms, Prevention

Symptoms of the new disease are similar to the flu and include fever, cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Symptoms appear from two to 14 days after exposure.

People who show “emergency warning signs” such as difficulty breathing, persistent pressure in the chest, bluish lips, or new confusion should immediately seek medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People showing mild symptoms are asked to remain home and call their doctor or health authorities.

About 80 percent of COVID-19 patients don’t require hospitalization and will recover after a period of isolation at home through rest and treatment of symptoms.

The others require hospitalization, with some needing care in intensive care units.

The mortality rate differs from country to country but is above that of the flu in nearly every country. Mortality rates for the elderly and people with underlying health conditions are much higher than other groups.

The best way to avoid becoming infected is to avoid exposure to the virus, which spreads primarily through close contact, such as shaking hands, or respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Touching contaminated surfaces can also bring about an infection of COVID-19.

Preventative techniques recommended by experts including washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after visiting a public place; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; and avoid close contact with sick people.

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