The New York Times
The New York Times 4 May 2020

Dying of Coronavirus: A Family's Painful Goodbye


Family members gathered on conference calls to send her messages of courage, and prayed together for a miracle.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., spoke on the House floor to dedicate a relief package being passed to her sister who is dying of coronavirus.
A husband and father wrote a heart wrenching goodbye note for his family before he died from coronavirus. Katie Coelho says her husband Jonathan started coming down with symptoms in late March. She says she was expecting him to recover, but he unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest. When she looked on his cell phone she found a note that Jonathan wrote to her and the children in case he didn't make it home.'s Mara Montalbano has more.
Doctors are warning that people are dying of heart attacks and strokes because they are so frightened about catching coronavirus that they are avoiding going to hospital when they should.

There's also concern about the rising numbers of victims of domestic violence and people who've attempted suicide.

Meanwhile the government has announced new guidelines on protective clothing for medical workers allowing some items to be washed and reused. It follows repeated warnings that staff don't have enough masks, gowns and other clothing to protect them from the virus..

The BBC Health Editor Hugh Pym and camerawoman Harriet Bradshaw have been inside Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge to see how they are coping with the virus.

Sophie Raworth presents their report on BBC News at Ten.

Polygraph fact checks China's Xinhua News Agency's official coronavirus response timeline, which was published Monday, April 6.

… show captions ↓
It’s Thursday morning,
and we’re at the North Shore University Hospital,
just across the border from Queens on Long Island.
I’m Sheri Fink.
I’m a correspondent at The New York Times,
and I’ve been reporting on the coronavirus pandemic.
This is a tiny little office in the intensive care unit.
“I just want you to tell us a little bit about her.”
And what’s happening in this office right now
is that a doctor and a social worker,
Dr. Eric Gottesman and social worker Elisa Vicari,
they’re connecting on a conference call
with the family of a patient.
Her name is Carmen Evelia Toro.
She is the beloved matriarch of a family that
stretches across South America and North America.
They don’t have a lot of hope for her
to recover from this very severe lung damage
that she suffered from the coronavirus.
And they want to talk with the family about what to do next.
“And it’s not like her lungs have collapsed.
They’re just very stiff, kind of like an old sponge
that won’t work anymore.
We are trying right now a last-ditch effort to give her
some high-dose steroids to see if we can
get her lungs any less stiff.
If they don’t work,
there’s nothing else really that we can do to help her.”
Because of the coronavirus and the risk of contagion,
family members aren’t being allowed
in the intensive care unit.
And so Elisa Vicari is going into Ms. Toro’s room
and then she’s connecting with Ms. Toro’s family
so that they can actually see their loved one.
And they’re wondering if maybe this is goodbye
because they don’t know how long she’ll live.
Ms. Toro’s family is scattered across the U.S. and in Colombia.
With the pandemic,
there’s no way that they can fly to come together
and they want to be there for her.
The only local family member of Ms. Toro
is her granddaughter, Marcela Rendón.
It’s Friday evening and she and her husband
are at the kitchen table, and they have Ms. Toro’s
well-worn Bible next to them.
The whole family is connected on the Zoom app.
They’re reading Scripture.
They’re singing.
They’re praying.
Ms. Toro is still receiving the steroids,
and the family doesn’t know yet whether or not
they have worked.
It’s Sunday morning, and Marcela and her husband
are in the parking lot of the North Shore University Hospital.
Unfortunately, news came in that the steroids had
not had an effect.
The doctors, the medical team are going to remove
the ventilator that has been supporting Ms. Toro’s life.
“She doesn’t want her to suffer.
That’s her concern.”
“No, no, she’s not going to —
so she’s not going to suffer, and we already gave her
some medications already
before we take the tube out to make her comfortable.”
“Is everybody on Zoom already?”
It is the first time that she’s going
to get to see her grandma.
She dropped her off four weeks ago,
and that was the last that she got to see her.
She’s there to be with her grandmother.
She’s the one who has to take on this responsibility
to be the person at the bedside.
And as she’s walking into the room,
there’s a part of her that knows the likely outcome,
and there’s a part of her that has
a deep faith that somehow it won’t happen.

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