INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indiana woman running for Congress lost a family member to coronavirus. Now she’s speaking out about the dangers of the pandemic.
Health officials say older people and those with underlying conditions are the most vulnerable to COVID-19, but Dee Thornton says she saw just how vulnerable they were when her first cousin was infected.
Thornton is one of five Democrats running for the 5th district seat currently held by Republican Rep. Susan Brooks, who announced in June that she wasn’t going to run for reelection.
“To be honest, we were getting calls that said she’d been tested and then within an hour, we get a call that said she had passed,” Thornton said. “So, she literally had been tested on Wednesday and she passed Friday morning.”
The 82-year-old woman lived in Indianapolis. She had five children. Three daughters are currently in quarantine. Thornton didn’t want to say who the woman was, but she did tell us a little bit about her.
“Every family has that person that kind of wants to make sure everybody comes together and everybody is happy and everybody gets along,” Thornton said. “And she’s just that beautiful soul and so is just a great person.”
Thornton says losing someone to the coronavirus was a surprise to her entire family.
“You really don’t think about it hitting that close to home,” Thornton said. “So it was actually kind of shocking.”
Unfortunately, as case numbers continue to climb, more people are sure to lose a loved one the way Thornton did. That’s why she wants to stress the importance of being hygienic and mindful of those in your community.
“Unfortunately we don’t truly really know the magnitude of the exposure here in Indiana,” Thornton said. “But I think with everyone practicing safe measures and good hygiene, and things that we should be doing all along, we can stem the growth. But we do know that those people who are older, we really have to be mindful and take care of them and do the right thing.”
Thornton says her family is fine and she’s continuing to social distance. She says they’re now facing questions about things like memorial services while the quarantine continues.