On July 25, a woman in her 30s died of coronavirus on a flight as it was about to depart from Arizona to Texas. Dallas County health officials were notified of the cause of death only a few days ago, nearly three months after the incident, BuzzFeed News reports.
“It became difficult for her to breathe, and they tried to give her oxygen,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. “It was not successful. She died on the jetway.”
This story is still developing. For now, the woman has been identified only as a resident of Garland, Texas, and whether she knew she had COVID-19 at the time remains a question mark, per BuzzFeed. A news release reported, however, that she had “underlying high risk health conditions.”
But based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, the woman’s case was indeed a COVID-19 death, Dallas County official Lauren Trimble told BuzzFeed News. Officials haven’t disclosed the name of the airline.
Dallas County didn't release any additional details to BuzzFeed. But based on what we know so far, what we can say is that this tragedy is a sobering reminder that young people are not immune to COVID-19. A CDC study found that although older adults had the highest incidence in the beginning of the pandemic, people age 20 to 39 had the highest incidence from June to August.
Even if you’re young and survive COVID-19, its effects can still be terrible. Another CDC study found that one in five people age 18 to 34 with no underlying chronic conditions who tested positive for COVID-19 hadn’t recovered after a few weeks. There have also been reports of COVID-induced myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, even among young, asymptomatic people, according to Scientific American.
Yes, pandemic fatigue is real. Not seeing your loved ones and taking all the recommended precautions day in and day out is mentally and emotionally draining. But as we head into the next wave of coronavirus cases in the U.S., not to mention flu season, it’s more important now than ever to stay vigilant — even if you’re young.