Fifteen-year-old Pauline recently contracted COVID-19 and the virus severely attacked her respiratory system, leaving her hospitalized.
A mother's love is unrivaled and the bond she shares with her child, unmatched. Agnes Velasquez is praying that this power of love is enough to save her teen daughter who is fighting for her life in the ICU room at Broward Health Medical Center. Fifteen-year-old Pauline recently contracted COVID-19 and the virus severely attacked her respiratory system, leaving her hospitalized. It's been about 10 days since she has been battling the devastating illness that has rocked the world and forced them to remain indoors for months.
Pauline is not alone in the cold ICU room because her mother refused to leave her side since rushing her to the hospital. "I came with my daughter and I'm not going anywhere," said the worried mother, who spends every hour of the day beside her daughter. Velasquez often tears up thinking about the last words her daughter said to her. "She told me that she loved me," recalled the distressed mother. She talks to her 15-year-old every day and asks her to "fight for your life" no matter what. "She can hear me," said Velasquez. Speaking to CNN via a video call from the ICU room, Velasquez showed her daughter up close whose eyes were shut, hair combed into a ponytail, and part of her face covered by a ventilation tube.
As the devastated mother continues to pray in English and Polish for her daughter's miraculous recovery, she has a message for everyone, especially for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. "The governor should encourage people to take vaccines, to wear masks, to apply the (Covid) guidelines," said Velasquez. She revealed that her daughter, who was healthy, was not vaccinated when she contracted the deadly virus. The mother flipped the camera and showed the public Pauline's heart rate and oxygen levels. Next, she recalled how her daughter had fallen ill and asked for Velasquez' help after being unable to breathe.
Velasquez didn't wear her mask when she rushed to her daughter's aid as she was unaware that the contagion had already invaded their home. A few days later, the mom tested positive despite being vaccinated. "I most likely got it from her," explained Valasquez, who only suffered mild symptoms. It is unclear where Paulina contracted the virus and her mother thinks it could have been church or school. As her daughter's symptoms became more severe, the teen became concerned about her brothers. "She wanted her brothers to get vaccinated," said Velasquez, who is coordinating her son's process of getting vaccinated from her daughter's ICU room where she sleeps on a couch and works at a little computer station has set up there. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover the hefty medical expenses.
Velasquez's pleas for the government comes right after DeSantis expressed his anti-mask position for students in schools when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that they should wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. "Parents know what's best for their children; therefore, parents in Florida are empowered to make their own choices with regards to masking," said DeSantis' spokesperson Christina Pushaw. "Fortunately, the data indicate that Covid is not a serious risk to healthy children, which is why schools in most countries were among the first institutions to reopen."
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says no new lockdowns, mask mandates or any other anti-COVID-19 measure in Florida https://t.co/1tBw10FTrK— Rahsaan (@RahsaanBall) December 1, 2020
That being said, data shows that children are still at risk of contracting COVID-19, according to CDC officials. "If you look at the mortality rate of Covid, just this past year for children, it's more than twice the mortality rate we see in influenza in a given year," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics made a similar recommendation earlier this month noting that the number of cases among kids and teens has shown an upward trend. In Florida, there's been more than a 50% increase in news cases over this week as compared to the last one, as per Johns Hopkins University, according to CNN. That's why experts are advising everyone to wear a mask irrespective of whether they have been vaccinated or not.
Information about COVID-19 is swiftly changing, and Lessons Learned In Life is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency of developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. Therefore, we encourage you to also regularly check online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.