Family and friends have been rallying to support and raise funds for a Miami woman as she lives through the unthinkable — her father, mother and older brother died as a result of COVID-19.
Violeta Tita Mayorga, the Nicaraguan family's only survivor, is in isolation as she recovers from the illness. The family lived together, along with Violeta's 8-year-old son. She sent him to live with his father when the adults started getting ill.
Mayorga's cousin Francisco Quiñonez said she is "devastated."
"It is not easy to lose your mom, dad and the one you had high hopes for, your brother," he said, saying Mayorga thought her brother would recover from the illness.
According to family members, the son, Mario Mayorga Jr., 42, started feeling ill around mid-March. He was an operations manager for Roger’s Cleaning Service, which cleans Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.
His parents and sister then began to show symptoms and were admitted to a hospital in Kendall, south of Miami.
The first to lose the battle against the disease was the father, Mario Mayorga Tuckler, 72, who died April 10, the same day that Violeta was discharged. Nine days later, the mother, Esperanza Tapia, also 72, died.
Both parents had been teachers in the city of Masaya, in western Nicaragua, on the edge of the country's Masaya volcano. The couple immigrated to the United States in the 1980s and settled in South Florida.
"They were well loved in the Nicaraguan community and among their former students, and everyone noted the love they had for each other," Marcela Lastre, the couple's niece, said. The couple would have soon celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
A few days after the mother's death, on April 26, Mario Mayorga Jr. died in intensive care — the same hospital that his company cleaned.
Violeta remains in isolation but has already tested negative for the virus in her latest tests, so she hopes to at least be able to reunite soon with her child.
Friends and family started an online fundraiser to support her and her extended relatives with funeral expenses.
In the United States, over 1.1 million people have been infected with COVID-19 and at least 68,000 people have died. Florida has more than 36,000 cases and at least 1,399 deaths have been reported. Latinos, as well as African Americans, are among the groups hit the hardest by the pandemic.