Atlanta High School Football Star Loses Both Parents To COVID-19 After Entire Family Tests Positive
The 17-year-old said he will stay strong because that's how his parents raised him.
August 03, 2020 at 8:08 pm
A standout student-athlete in Atlanta lost both of his parents to COVID-19 in less than a week. According to WSB-TV, 17-year-old Justin Hunter said the whole family tested positive two weeks ago. Although the teen was asymptomatic, his parents suffered greatly.
“They became very sick and they had the clear symptoms,” Hunter told WSB-TV. “Their temperatures skyrocketed. They had headaches. Horrible cough. They felt very lazy.”
Hunter's parents were quarantined at home separately, but their conditions continued to get worse. They were then taken in an ambulance to the same hospital. Hunter's father, Eugene, died on July 26 at the age of 59. His mother, Angie, died four days later at the age of 57.
The high school football star said he doesn't know how they contracted the coronavirus and said the family was taking precautions.
“We were a regular family just trying to stay safe during this pandemic,” Hunter said. “When my mom would go to the store, she would be wearing mask and she would be wearing gloves.”
Eugene and Angie were married for 35 years after they met in college. The couple was respected in the community.
"They were just loving toward everybody. No matter what," the grieving son said. "If you had a problem, they would be there to help you. You know that they had very big hearts and they would give without even thinking about getting anything back."
In his interview with WSB-TV, Hunter talked about how supportive his parents had been during his football journey.
“Since I started playing, we always talked about me playing in college and then playing in the pros,” Hunter said. “They would have wanted me to keep going and get a scholarship and my schoolwork done.”
Despite the tragedy, the 17-year-old said he will stay strong because that's how his parents raised him. And he reminds people about the need to wear a mask during the pandemic.
“If you don’t wear it for yourself, then wear it for the next person,” he said. "Because you could be saving that person’s life.”
The teen is now living with other relatives.
"I just gotta keep going and pushing,” he said. “I know they’re happy up there and that’s what makes me happy.”
Black families, such as Hunter's, have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. According to the COVID Tracking Project, Black people are dying at almost three times the rate of white people. The loss of Black lives during the pandemic, which totals at least 31,602, accounts for 22% of the fatalities related to COVID-19 in the United States.
Black Chicagoans are getting hit particularly hard, with Black residents in the city accounting for 60% of coronavirus deaths despite constituting just 30% of the population, reports The Guardian.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading coronavirus expert, explained the reason for the racial disparity, reports Business Insider. Speaking to lawmakers in June, Fauci said Black people are facing a "double whammy" coronavirus threat, "through no fault of their own, because of underlying conditions, and the conditions in which they find themselves."
"The jobs that the majority of them would find themselves in does not allow them to protect themselves, by looking into a computer and doing telework," Fauci said. "Most of them are essential, on outside, having to mingle in a society in which the virus is circulating."