Coronavirus deaths: Families of COVID-19 victims beg public to take virus seriously

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Coronavirus is targeting the elderly at a horrific rate: people over the age of 70 make up two thirds of all deaths in Illinois.
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The families of some of those who lost their fight with COVID-19 are sharing their grief with a warning.

"It came out of nowhere," Joan Bartlett said about how quickly COVID-19 can go from manageable to deadly.

Her 84-year-old father, John Richardson, died Easter Sunday. She said he'd been stable in the hospital for several days before he stopped eating Wednesday.

"By Saturday, his breathing declined and he passed on Sunday," she said.

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Sylvester Dorsey watched COVID-19 strike his father with similar speed. Clarence Dorsey was 93, but his son said he was a vigorous man who suddenly began having trouble breathing last week.

"COVID is serious. And COVID will kill you. Quickly," Dorsey said. "It took six days to take my father out of here. After 93 years, he had only been hospitalized once in his life."

Dorsey said he hopes people will learn from his loss.

"I see people in my community, walking around with no mask on. And it's almost infuriating," he said. "You might think it's not happening because it hasn't happened to your family. But when it comes, it's gonna to come so quick."

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It's a tragedy Bartlett understands too well, sharing how hard it is to grieve.

"Very lonely and isolating death, which is very traumatic for the victims and of course for the families. We can't be by their side," she said. "I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Please take it seriously."
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