Kristin Urquiza’s father was on a path to recovery from Covid-19 when the disease suddenly took him. She says his death and countless others were preventable, if only the health crisis had been handled better in the US.
Mark Urquiza from Phoenix, Arizona, was only 65 and had no known preexisting conditions when his life was cut short by coronavirus. While in hospital he was responding well to treatment and was optimistic that he would soon be released. Instead he took a sudden turn for the worst and swiftly succumbed to his illness.
“It’s a terrible disease that can quickly turn on a dime,” his daughter Kristin told RT. The development happened so fast that she couldn’t drive from California back to her parents’ home in time to see her dad one last time.
Heartbroken and angry, she has become a campaigner, demanding a better response to the outbreak from state and federal authorities. She believes that the more-than 150,000 Covid-19 deaths in the US are “atrocious” considering that other nations of similar size and wealth performed far better.
“There are [thousands] of families out there who are feeling what I feel,” she said. “We are currently in a situation where countless others are about to feel the way that I feel.”
Kristin says many of the deaths, including her dad’s, were preventable if only the people in charge had more coherent and rational policies in place.
Mark contracted the virus in early June, just weeks after the state of Arizona opened up after months in lockdown. The messaging coming from the office of Governor Doug Ducey at the time was that life was back to normal, she complained.
“I was saying ‘dad, I don’t think it’s safe’ … And he said ‘If it was not safe, why would the governor say it was?’ That was impossible for me to compete with,” she explained.
The downplaying of the virus, the sending of mixed messages, going against what our top infectious disease professionals are saying … is helping this virus flourish, at the cost of human lives.
The government has failed Americans not only in not doing a good job in preventing the spread of the virus but also in mitigating the economic damage caused by the epidemic, Kristin said.
There was some relief for unemployed people with an extension likely coming soon and support for businesses, but those stimulus measures “quite frankly, have disproportionately benefited huge corporations and gone to shareholders versus everyday people.”
One of the things that I think is essential for us to be doing is thinking about how are we supporting not only people impacted by Covid-19 directly through the loss of a loved one, but the folks that don’t have the privilege to stay at home: the essential workers who are on the frontlines at grocery stores or in the vegetable fields, [and the] healthcare workers.
Kristin is currently working on collecting stories similar to hers, to connect people touched by the disease, helping to personalize the toll that Covid-19 has taken on the country.
“These are more than numbers. Each number represents a person who was loved, who mattered and who has a family mourning,” she explained.
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