May 22, 2020 - Health

A snapshot of coronavirus victims

Nurses in scrubs and masks hold a memorial outside a hospital.

Workers mourn their colleague Celia Marcos, a nurse at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles who died of COVID-19. Photo: Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has killed almost 100,000 people in the U.S. and well over 300,000 worldwide. And though it's easy to become fixated on the statistics, the people who have died were mothers, fathers, siblings and friends.

The big picture: Many of those who have died from the virus had committed themselves to the health and well-being of others, in ways big and small — from high-level researchers to emergency room doctors to family caregivers.

What follows is a small snapshot of some of those lives.

  • Li Wenliang, 33: An ophthalmologist in China who was among the first to warn about the outbreak and later died from the disease.
  • Lorna Breen, 49: An ER doctor at a Manhattan hospital who treated COVID-19 patients and later died by suicide. Her father told the New York Times: "She tried to do her job, and it killed her."
  • Kious Kelly, 48: The New York City nurse's death in March highlighted the shortage of protective equipment for medical workers.
  • James Mahoney, 62: A longtime critical care physician, known as "our Jay-Z" to black medical residents. He worked at a hospital in Brooklyn that predominantly treats the poor.
  • Angeline Bernadel, 52: A nursing home employee in Connecticut who was "panicked" by the virus, and represents the particularly high risks to people working in senior care facilities.
  • John Murray, 92: A pioneering pulmonologist who died from acute respiratory distress syndrome — "a condition he helped define" — that was caused by COVID-19. 
  • Nita Pippins, 93: A retired nurse whose son died from AIDS, and who then became a "surrogate mother" to others who had AIDS.
  • Azar Ahrabi, 68: The first person in the San Francisco Bay Area to die of COVID-19 and a full-time caretaker of her elderly mother — a reminder that millions of people are already caring for family members as if it were their jobs.

Go deeper: Kaiser Health News and the Guardian are publishing a joint project that identified U.S. health care workers who have died from COVID-19. Medscape is tracking deaths of health care workers around the world.

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