COVID-19 shows no mercy

Published 6:14 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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“Surely, COVID-19 can cause you to have major health problems. It also doesn’t discriminate. It don’t care what age you are or what color.”

Those are the words of Robert Wilson, a 54-year-old Bertie County man who survived a nasty fight with COVID-19.

His words – shared last week as part of a virtual Town Hall meeting hosted by Bertie County local government – have even greater meaning when you consider the tragic death of Aurea Soto Morales.

According to a story posted online by WNCN – a CBS affiliate in Durham – Morales died a week ago from complications related to COVID-19.

You might assume that Morales was a senior citizen, with major health complications, living in a rest home, nursing home, or assisted living facility. The death toll from COVID-19 is extremely high in those types of facilities.

But yet Aurea was not confined to such a place….rather, she was far removed from even thinking about living in that sort of environment.

Aurea was eight-years-old…a second grade student. She and her older sister, Jennifer, began showing signs of the virus two weeks ago. They both tested positive, as did their parents.

On May 29, Aurea suffered a seizure and was rushed to the hospital, according to the WNCN story.

“On Saturday, her brain started to swell up and she went into a coma,” Jennifer told the TV reporter.

Aurea died two days later.

“While most COVID-19 cases in children are not severe, this is a tragic reminder for all of us that COVID-19 can be a serious illness for anyone. We want to encourage people to protect themselves and others by wearing face coverings, waiting at least six feet apart and washing hands often whenever you leave home,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore.

Wilson shared the same sentiment in his online presentation last week. He said the virus caused him to suffer from severe body aches, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, and an extremely high temperature. He lost 19 pounds in seven days.

And the biggest alarm bell that Wilson sounded was that he had no major health problems prior to being tested positive for COVID-19 on April 10. Since that time, Wilson has suffered a minor stroke, a heart attack, and was diagnosed with blood clots.

Yes, the numbers do show that the majority of those impacted by this virus are elderly. As of this writing on Sunday afternoon (June 7), North Carolina’s case count had topped 35,000 with 1,020 deaths. Right at 4,500 cases are within congregate care facilities. Those facilities account for over one-half (600) of the state’s deaths thus far from COVID-19.

But what’s so alarming is that some of those senior citizens who have now succumbed due to complications from COVID-19 were not deathly ill before contracting the virus.

I recall a Facebook post to one of our news stories where a family member shared that her grandmother was okay health-wise one week, got extremely sick the next, and then passed away.

Meanwhile, there are those who believe that COVID-19 is all a ruse by the government to control our lives. They refuse to follow the suggested health precautions….some even going as far as to blatantly invade our “safe space” and then accusing us of being “stupid.”

It’s stories from people like Robert Wilson and the granddaughter’s Facebook post, and the sad feeling we should all have over the death of an innocent eight-year-old child that tell the truth about the health-related consequences of COVID-19.

Jennifer Morales said her family is asking everyone to continue to wear masks and to stay home if you are feeling sick. They are also asking businesses to wipe down surfaces and to continue to limit the number of people who inside at a time.

“Every little thing they do may save lives,” Jennifer said. “We don’t want other parents to suffer from what we are going through.”

That last sentence is the most powerful of all.


Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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