An Air Force veteran and his life partner died just two days apart after both were diagnosed with coronavirus.
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on the Black and LGBQ communities.
Phillip Tsai-Brooks, 42, and his life partner Anthony Brooks, 52, died just two days apart at Methodist Hospital Metropolitan.
Anthony, an Air Force veteran, fell ill first after returning home to San Antonio, Texas from an out-of-town trip. Phillip, who owned a hair salon, got sick days later.
According to Express News, Phillip's doctor thought he had a bad reaction to a whooping cough vaccination. He was sent home on medication on March 20. But on his second visit to the hospital on March 26, his health took a turn for the worse and he was admitted to the hospital.
Phillip (left) updated his social media followers on his health status. He was confident he would be released in a couple of days.
"Back in the ER.. oxygen super low. Heart rate low. Shortness [of] breath vomiting blood pressure high fever 102.9," Phillip wrote on Facebook.
He added: "Update: I tested positive for corona. Be here for a couple of days.. then quarantine 14 day."
Anthony was diagnosed with coronavirus after he fell ill with pneumonia, but he refused to go to the hospital. Anthony's mother had died in January and his father passed away in March, according to London's DailyMail.com.
"Despite multiple attempts to get Tony to go to the ER, he refused to go," Phillip's brother, Robert Tsai, told Express News. "I don't know if he thought he could fight through his symptoms."
Anthony was found unconscious at his home on March 31. He joined Phillip in the intensive care unit at Northeast Baptist Hospital and both were transferred to the ICU at Methodist Hospital and placed on ventilators.
"Both were on ventilators and were given the hydroxychloroquine cocktail," said Robert, referring to the drugs Plaquenil and Azythromycin.
Anthony, the sickest of the two, was hooked up to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, a type of life support machine that bypasses the lungs to deliver oxygenated blood directly to the heart and remove carbon dioxide.
At the same time Phillip's health seemed to improve. He was sitting up in his hospital bed and chatting with his family when he suddenly had trouble breathing.
"A bit later, Phil's heart stopped," said Robert. "They tried for 38 minutes to resuscitate him, but weren't able to do so."
Anthony was given a blood plasma transfusion before he passed away two days later. He wasn't aware his life partner had died before him.
Now Anthony's brother-in-laws are left to plan funerals for both of them.
They broke the news to their mother, Pacita, who lived with the couple in their Texas home. She is under quarantine after she fell ill with COVID-19.
"It's very hard," Phillip's brother Alfred told Express News. "We had to arrange for my other brothers that live in San Antonio to stand outside the house while we tell her the news. That's the heartbreaking side. We can't go in. My brothers can't go in and comfort her. She's standing in the doorway crying."
Alfred said the couple had traveled the world and took his mother Pacita everywhere with them.
COVID-19 causes mild symptoms or no symptoms in most healthy adults. The virus causes acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and potentially fatal pneumonia among the elderly, particularly those with chronic illnesses such as respiratory and heart problems, HIV/AIDS, obesity, and smokers.
The CDC offers the following tips to avoid spreading the flu or Covid-19 virus:
1. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands
2. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds
3. Avoid close contact with sick people
4. Sneeze and cough into a tissue or your elbow
5. Stay home if you are sick
5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
6. When in doubt consult with a healthcare professional