Healthy teen dies after COVID-19 ‘ate through her,’ family says

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A healthy high school senior from Chicago contracted COVID-19 just before Christmas — and was dead within days as the virus “ate through her,” her family says.

“She called me up crying to say that, you know, ‘Mom, I’m going to miss Christmas.’ And I had to reassure her that it’s just a day on the calendar, and when she comes home, ‘We’ll do Christmas with you.’ … Unfortunately she didn’t [leave the hospital],” Sarah Simental’s grieving mother, Deborah Simental, told the local ABC-TV affiliate.

“It literally just ate her through,” the mom said of the coronavirus. “And no parent should ever have to watch their child go through that.”

Deborah said her 18-year-old daughter had no health problems when she got a headache and began suffering from a sore throat and body aches Dec. 23.

Sarah felt so poorly that her parents took her to a local hospital — where she only worsened and was airlifted to the University of Chicago Hospital, ABC said.

The teen never recovered, dying the day after Christmas.

“I have no words for it. I just can’t believe how fast that it progressed,” Sarah’s dad, Don Simental, told the outlet.

Deborah said the only consolation for her and her husband was that they were able to be at their daughter’s bedside when she died.

“She said, “I’m going to be OK, Mom.’ And that was the last thing,” the mother recalled. “So I know that she knows, eventually, we’ll all be OK. We’re going to miss her, but we’ll be OK.”

Still, “I’m thinking that I’m going to miss out on some real milestones that every mother wants to have with her daughter,” the mom said.

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