12-year-old dies of coronavirus after father tests positive

September 29, 2020
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Elizabeth McNew, a 12-year-old, has died from COVID-19 after being hospitalized for ten days.

The family confirmed the tragic news to Today. As the family deals with her loss, they want people to understand how severe the deadly virus is and how everyone can do their part to help protect others.

"If you kept one germ droplet from just accidentally getting on another person, you have been a hero, and all it took was an annoying little mask," Elda McNew, Elizabeth's mother, said. "I would like people to think of the Golden Rule: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' Because we need to find some love and compassion for each other."

McNew has decided to share her daughter's story to help other families who are also mourning their child's loss.

The family did everything that they could to protect themselves from COVID-19. When leaving their home, they always wore face masks.

Elizabeth and her brother, Liam, 15, participated in remote learning because their family believed it was the safest thing to do.

Brad McNew, Elizabeth’s father, works in law enforcement where he is around a lot of people throughout the day. Whenever he comes home, he sanitizes his shoes, puts his clothes in the wash, and then takes a shower.

In early September, he began coughing and thought he had bronchitis. Brad went to the doctor, who urged him to get a COVID-19 test. Around the same time, his daughter felt congested and thought it was seasonal allergies.

When Brad tested positive for COVID-19, his daughter's health got worse.

"Even though my husband tested positive, his symptoms were very mild to moderate," McNew explained. "It became very clear that Elizabeth was not just having allergies ... She came and said, 'I can't breathe exactly good.'"

The 12-year-old was admitted to Wolfson Children's Hospital. As her mother never tested positive for COVID-19 and did not have a fever, the hospital allowed her to stay.

"I never left for 10 days," McNew said.

Elizabeth had a tracheostomy and was on medications to manage her symptoms and pain.

"Her (infection) seemed to just be more intense and a little more complicated," she said.

On September 25, Elizabeth had passed away.

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