WHITTIER, Calif. -- Scott Blanks was just 34 years old, a beloved son, brother, uncle and friend who died Friday after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
"He was one of those people that, I swear the grumpiest person could come in and he would still make them laugh," said Mia Andrews, a friend who worked with him as baristas years ago.
Scott's family says he was diagnosed with asthma as a child but did not need treatment as an adult. He grew up in Pasadena and was living in Whittier.
Andrews says Scott went to the emergency room after developing a fever and cough. Initially he was told he had an upper respiratory virus and he should go home and take over-the-counter medications.
When his condition got worse, he returned to the hospital. He was then told he had viral pneumonia. By the time he got his coronavirus test results back as positive, he was already on a ventilator.
He died two weeks after his initial visit to the hospital.
"The people that have this, they can't have their family around them," Andrews said. "He died alone. Scott didn't deserve to die alone. Nobody deserves to die alone."
His family and friends hope his story will help contribute to everyone taking coronavirus seriously, especially younger people.
"He was the light of everybody's, life," Andrews said. "He is truly missed. I want everyone to know they need to be safe, they need to take precautions."
Coronavirus: Friends hope COVID-19 death of 34-year-old Southern California man can serve as warning