The family of a 33-year-old woman, who died from COVID-19 shortly after giving birth, are now grieving their loss and urging the public to treat the threat of the virus as a “real thing.”
“It’s is a real thing. I don’t know why people don’t comprehend that,” said Michael Avilez in an interview with KCAL about the death of his sister, Erika Becerra, who died in Detroit, Michigan, last Friday night.
He says his sister, who already has a 1-year-old daughter with her husband, had no known underlying conditions other than pregnancy.
“She had a normal labor, she gave birth to her son but didn’t get to hold him because right after she gave birth, that’s when they put in the tube and then from there she just started declining,” Avilez said.
He said his sister was eight months pregnant when she was diagnosed with COVID-19 three weeks ago. As time went by, doctors recognized that her health wasn’t improving so they induced her labor and on Nov. 15, she gave birth to her son, Diego Antonio Becerra.
“Towards the last moments, she was tearing up. I know she heard us as we prayed for her, we talked to her, we comforted her in the last moments,” Avilez said, recalling the difficult final moments he spent with his sibling. “All my sister wanted was the best for everybody and she cared about lives. She didn’t deserve to go through what she went through.”
Speaking a day after she died, Avilez said he is comforted because “I know God needed her more than I did” and his family gave her to Him “with open arms” despite praying earnestly that she would live.
A GoFundMe campaign has already raised more than $63,000 to help Erika’s family provide for her children. Organizer Claudia Garcia remembered the young mother as a “very caring individual.”
“Never biased, never critical, always accepting and joyful. Let’s make Erika proud and raise awareness! We ask your help to give this family peace of mind during these difficult times and around the holiday season,” she wrote.
As of Tuesday, nearly 15 million cases of the coronavirus have been recorded in the U.S., resulting in more than 282,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the CDC.
Residents in the U.K., meanwhile, became the first people in the world to receive a clinically authorized, fully tested vaccine, as Britain’s National Health Service delivered its first shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.
Margaret Keenan, 90, a former jewelry shop assistant from Coventry, in central England, who received the first shot at 6:31 a.m. Tuesday, said she felt “privileged.”
“I feel so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against Covid-19,” she told The New York Times. “It means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the new year after being on my own for most of the year.”
Hours after Britain began administering the Pfizer vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration also confirmed its safety and efficacy. The agency also found evidence that the vaccine, which is administered in two doses three weeks apart, starts protecting recipients after the first dose.
Health officials in the U.K. are currently investigating two allergic reactions to determine whether they were linked to the shot.