A 34-year-old California man has died from the new coronavirus, contradicting the claim that only older people need to fear the pandemic.
Jeffrey Ghazarian succumbed to COVID-19 just days after visiting Disney World in Orlando, Florida, Fox 11 in Los Angeles reported Thursday. Health officials in Los Angeles, where the man died, said his tragic passing should serve as a warning to young people who think they’re invincible, though Ghazarian did have underlying health conditions.
“This virus has infected thousands and thousands of people all across the world, and a large number of them are people that are young,” Los Angeles Department of Health Director Barbara Ferrer said, according to NBC Los Angeles.
A tragic death
The Glendora man visited Florida on a business trip on March 2, his family said, according to Fox 11. He decided to check out Orlando’s famous amusement parks with friends, like Disney World and Universal Studios, but he had to fly home on March 9 when he developed a cough with blood.
Ghazarian checked himself into a hospital with a high fever, and an X-ray found that he had pneumonia, Fox 11 reported. He was tested for COVID-19 and sent home with antibiotics and orders to self-isolate.
When the test came back positive on March 13, he was hospitalized the next day and found to have 60% to 70% of his lungs blocked with pneumonia, according to Fox 11. He was hooked up to a ventilator for about a week in the ICU, and on Thursday, he died. His family said he had a health history, including asthma and testicular cancer.
“Our sweet, loving, fun Jeffrey went to be with Jesus this morning,” his family wrote in a Facebook post, according to NBC Los Angeles. “He suffered a lot and put up a good fight. We will miss our Jeff every day but we are thankful for all the fun happy memories of the times we had together.”
An unknown threat
The media has repeatedly insisted that the coronavirus is mostly a threat to older people and those with serious health conditions. Nevertheless, much remains unknown about the virus, and there is still no vaccine
Ghazarian is now the second person to die in Los Angeles County. While he did have pre-existing health conditions, The New York Times has reported that about 40% of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the U.S. are between the ages of 20 to 54, although the risk of death is higher for older patients.
As the virus continues to ravage the nation and the globe, there has been considerable inter-generational conflict over how seriously to take the pandemic. Many young people find “social distancing” guidelines oppressive and have ignored them, opting to attend St. Patrick’s Day events and party on Florida’s beaches during spring break, as the BBC reported.
But if not for their elders’ sake, then for their own health, young people should heed Ghazarian’s death as a warning, Los Angeles health officials said, according to NBC Los Angeles.
As of March 16, both Disney and Universal are closed because of COVID-19, the Independent reported. The United States now has at least 17,400 cases and more than 220 deaths from the virus, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.