Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Hundreds of area families have lost loved ones to COVID-19; victims are more than simple statistics

WACO, TX – The daily drone of statistics on COVID-19 cases and deaths can be mind-numbing, but the simple fact is hundreds of Central Texas families have lost loved ones to the virus and more deaths are yet to come.

Fifteen more deaths were reported on Wednesday alone in Central Texas where the virus has claimed the lives of at least 571 residents since March, every one of them leaving families and friends to grieve.

Shane Mantz lost his grandmother Darlene McKinley to COVID-19 in September.

“She meant the world I mean she was the matriarch of the family,” he said.

“She went by ‘Oma’ and she was the glue that held everyone together.”

McKinley’s family became concerned for her well-being after the nursing home in which she was living, had an outbreak of COVID-19 over the summer.

Mantz says she was OK when she first began showing symptoms.

“She said all she had was a sore throat and that she was doing fine,” he said.

But the symptoms worsened.

“It was so fast just boom, boom, boom,” Mantz said.

“She tested positive for the virus and within two weeks she was in the ICU and that was it,” he says.

“My kids won’t get to know there Oma again and that’s extremely infuriating.”

Mantz hopes more people will take the virus seriously.

“I get that we are burned out on wearing masks and social distancing,” he said.

“Hell I am burned out too…but you just have to do it. You have to do it.”

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