A Florida mom who lost her son and daughter within 2 week urges people to take the coronavirus seriously: 'It's real, it's out there'

insider@insider.com (Rhea Mahbubani)
·3 min read
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Medical workers in Florida test a person for coronavirus.

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  • Byron Hicks, 20, and his sister Mychaela, 23, of Florida, died of COVID-19 11 days apart, their mother told CNN.

  • Monete Hicks said the pair began to feel sick after traveling to Orlando in June.

  • Hicks added that her children "are my heart and will always be my heart."

  • Byron's niece Darisha Scott is urging people to take the virus seriously because it is "not a joke," and has deadly consequences that have devastated her family.

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A Florida woman who lost two children to the coronavirus within two weeks is urging people not to dismiss the threat posed by the infection.

"All I can say is, take this, take this [virus] very seriously because it's real, it's out there," Monete Hicks told CNN.

Hicks' son Byron, 20, and daughter Mychaela, 23, lived in Lauderhill and were "basically homebound," she told CNN's Brianna Keilar.

Related: 6 months of coronavirus in the USA, reviewed in 6 minutes

COVID-19 was the primary cause of death for both Byron and Mychaela, who died about 11 days apart, NBC News reported, citing the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office. Byron's case was complicated by asthma and obesity, and Mychaela's was complicated by asthma, obesity, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to NBC News.

Hicks told CNN that her children began to feel ill after a trip to Orlando.

Paramedics were called to the Hicks home on June 27, June when Byron woke up struggling to breathe.

"I came and checked on him. He was in the living room on the floor sitting up. He was sleeping, but he was breathing very poorly," Hicks told NBC Miami.

Byron died around noon that day, Hicks told CNN.

"I lost my baby," Hicks said.

Mychaela began to feel unwell three days later, Hicks said. "Mama, just crank up the car, let's go,'" Mychaela told her mother, CNN reported.

At that time, Mychaela had a headache and a fever, but her condition worsened rapidly.

"She lost a kidney, her liver began to fail," Hicks said, "and it just went one after another, one after another."

She died on July 8.

Byron and Mychaela "are my heart and will always be my heart," Hicks added.

Darisha Scott, the pair's cousin, told CNN that Byron enjoyed playing games and loved his family. She described him as "the goofball of the family."

Meanwhile, Mychaela "was the light of the family, her smile could light up a room," she added.

Scott echoed Hicks' plea, saying, the coronavirus is "not a joke," per CNN.

"It's not a game, it's not something that the government ... made up," she continued.

Scott echoed health experts, asking people to wear a face mask in public, stay 6 feet away from each other, and wash their hands frequently.

"Don't come out unless you really, really got to, especially here in Florida," Scott told CNN. "Nobody should have to feel the pain, my auntie shouldn't have to feel this pain."

For her part, Hicks told NBC Miami: "Wear y'all masks. Be careful, be safe out there, take it seriously."

As of Friday, Florida, which has seen a sharp spike in coronavirus cases since mid-June, is the third worst-hit state in the US. More than 402,300 people have been infected and over 5,650 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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