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'Praying for Laura': Tweet about 30-year-old coronavirus victim strikes chord, goes viral

An author's request for prayers for a young woman in intensive care "fighting for her life" apparently hit home for many people, drawing over 70,000 likes and 10,000 retweets.

A man's tweet requesting prayers for a 30-year-old coronavirus victim went viral Friday, inspiring thousands of tweets with the phrase "Praying for Laura."

The man, author Jonathan Merritt, said his friend, whom he identified only as "Laura from NYC," was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Merritt said Laura is on a ventilator in intensive care "fighting for her life."

"She is only 30," he wrote in his tweet Thursday night. "Please pray for her."

His tweet had upward of 10,000 retweets as of Friday morning and more than 70,000 likes.

In a follow-up tweet Friday morning, Merritt said Laura "was taken by helicopter to a new hospital that has a better ventilator and she made it safely."

"Unfortunately," he wrote, Laura is "totally alone" because no one is allowed near her. "So we are dependent on someone calling her family to receive updates."

Another Twitter user, Allison Kilkenny, retweeted Merritt's Thursday tweet on Friday morning, writing: "This is my friend I mentioned yesterday and it’s not looking good. Please keep her in your thoughts and be really good to each other right now."

Kilkenny declined to comment about Laura when reached Friday.

Merritt's initial tweet drew thousands of responses, including from one woman who said: "I am praying for Laura and for all those fighting on the front lines."

Author and evangelist Beth Moore replied, in part: "We are standing right with you alongside her, Jonathan. Her name represents so many to us and it gives us a name for the countless image bearers we don’t know."

There have been more than 82,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States and at least 1,177 deaths. New York state, where at least 433 people have died from the virus, has the most confirmed cases, more than 39,000.