With cases once again trending upward across much of the country, the ongoing public health crisis has provided too many tales of loss and grief. One recent case in Michigan, however, stood out for its heartbreaking tragic twist.
Detroit resident Erika Becerra was eight months pregnant when she tested positive for COVID-19 last month and died shortly after she gave birth this week.
“She wasn’t getting any better”
Becerra reportedly required hospitalization due to respiratory difficulties and her condition declined as her due date drew near.
Despite adhering to “every rule in the book,” her brother, Michael Avilez, said she nonetheless contracted the virus and soon realized the severity of her symptoms.
“The doctors decided to induce her labor because she wasn’t getting any better,” he said.
According to Avilez, hospital staff “put her on a tube because her body wasn’t retaining oxygen anymore and after that, she wasn’t able to meet her newborn baby.”
He used his family’s personal heartbreak to stress the importance of taking the coronavirus risk seriously.
“May have resulted in the deaths of thousands”
“You’ve got a lot of people that don’t understand what’s going on,” he warned. “They all think it’s a joke until it happens to them or one of their family members.”
In recent months, Michigan has been one of a handful of states to come under increased scrutiny for a policy some critics argue put elderly patients and nursing facility staff at unnecessary risk early on in the pandemic.
The Justice Department issued a press release in August stating: “Today the Justice Department requested COVID-19 data from the governors of states that issued orders which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”
Federal prosecutors argued that Michigan, along with New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, “required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients to their vulnerable populations, often without adequate testing.”
Becerra’s loved ones have established an online fundraiser in memory of the young mother. The funds are set to “help cover funeral and family’s travel expenses from Michigan back to her home town” in Southern California, with any remainder going toward the “needs of her young children.”