Eugene Schwarz was admitted three weeks before, but his daughter had not been allowed to see him at the hospital for fear of spreading the disease. The 72-year old looked nothing like the cheerful, well-dressed cardiologist she used to kiss on her forehead before going to work.
Schwarz stated, "I was hugging father, but it didn't feel like my father."
He died less than an hour after she allowed him to see her.
Schwarz spoke out about her painful experience on Friday in a telephone interview to raise awareness of the severe effects of COVID-19. Schwarz and other victims of the virus, such as people who had been infected months earlier and still have severe symptoms, organized rallies across the country, including in Atlanta, New York City, Washington D.C. and Denver on Saturday. They encouraged people to get vaccinated.
Tanya Washington, organizer of the Atlanta rally of COVID survivors for change, said to about 50 people who gathered in front of a downtown church that "COVID" is still a part our lives.
Washington, who lost her father in March to the coronavirus, said that "if it saves one person hurting, just one person it would have been worthwhile."
She recalled earlier her agonizing final moments with him.
She said, "Never in one million years did I imagine that I would have had to take my father off oxygen and wrap him in PPE from head to foot to say goodbye." I couldn't touch him without gloves. "I couldn't touch him except through gloves."
The rallies came amid a surge in infections around the country that are again straining hospitals, particularly in the South, where vaccination rates remain low. COVID survivors, as well as those who have lost loved one to the disease, say that they are frustrated at the resistance to vaccines and misinformation.
It has become a political issue and it is not about that. Paula Schirmer said that it is a virus and that it is killing everyone, regardless of political views.
Schirmer, 50, from Marietta, Georgia, was infected with the virus along with her husband and her three children. However, Schirmer's symptoms have not improved more than a year after she contracted it. She is unable to remember appointments or words, which is crucial for her job as an interpreter. She also has intestinal problems. Her mental health was also affected by the virus.
Schirmer's husband spent nearly two months in hospital. Schirmer received two calls from nurses informing that Schirmer was in critical condition. She said that she has post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the experience.
She said, "It was terrible not knowing what was going on,"
These rallies were also intended to encourage lawmakers to provide financial and medical assistance for victims of COVID.
Marjorie Roberts (60) said that she still requires regular medical attention for COVID damage. She has lung and liver issues and has lost seven teeth. She is unable to walk for more than a few blocks, and she sometimes wakes up with no energy.
"I lived my life as if it were a dream. She said, "I was traveling." "I have to literally start my life over."
Schwarz decided to delay her trip to New York in order to bury her father at the same cemetery that other family members have been buried. It's been difficult to move on.
She said, "It's delayed closing." "I don’t want people to have that."