LOS ANGELES -- A Southern California nurse on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis has an emotional warning to those not taking the pandemic seriously after the death of her father-in-law to the virus.
"Our father was healthy, and he was the last person we ever thought would contract COVID, let alone succumb to COVID," says emergency room nurse Heidi Flores.
Flores' father-in-law Rony Flores had been a marathon runner, a gym regular, a muscular 60-year-old warehouse worker who sold forklifts and protected himself against the virus.
The symptoms came up as aches and pains. The fever did not show up until Heidi Flores instructed him to stop taking all over-the-counter medications. She also told him to test his sense of taste.
"He was just kind of awestruck. He was like, 'I can't believe that I can't taste my coffee, '" says Flores.
The descent came rapidly.
"I will never forget. The last thing that my father said to me was, those words, 'Son, I'm in bad shape,'" says Jason Flores, Rony's son.
Days of intubation would follow. Multiple heart attacks and brain damage would claim the final toll.
Heidi Flores is challenging the crowds of protesters who are flouting the stay-at-home mandate.
"And they have zero - absolutely zero knowledge - of what this disease can potentially do," says the 20-year veteran nurse.
On the day that Heidi Flores targets the actions of protesters, Rony Flores is set to be cremated.
"Until you watch somebody fall, completely fall helpless to this disease, you don't need to be out there protesting," says Flores. "You don't, you really, really should be in your homes loving on your family."