Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-02-23 02:18:00 –
Las Vegas (FOX5)-America has reached a tough milestone: more than 500,000 lives have been lost in COVID-19. For some, the 500,000 deaths are not just numbers, they include those they love.
For a family in Las Vegas with nine members who tested positive at one time, it upset their world and killed one. Funeral arrangements are still pending while the family is preparing to deal with heart surgery for the latest members.
“It’s her fault that I’m not going to win the COVID,” Dennis Fernandez said, hugging his little granddaughter. Two months old, Octavia came to the world two months earlier when her mother fought COVID-19.
“She just got out of her newborn a few weeks ago. Doctors just need to be a little stronger to perform heart surgery,” Fernandez relayed about her latest grandson.
Fernandez’s husband, 49-year-old Eric Sodetani, died on the occasion of his 23rd wedding anniversary.
“I asked the doctor to let me in. I was already in the parking lot … my heart hurts. It’s like I can’t breathe,” Fernandez said.
Sodetani is described as a “gentle giant.” Originally from Hawaii, he worked at hotels on the Las Vegas Strip and at the airport and did his best to support a family of 11 at home.
“I cry every day … my grandson wants him every day,” Fernandez said. “Every time I hear another death, or another positive thing, I know what it is, so I pray for their family.”
Fernandez said the virus was not discriminatory and called on people to stay vigilant.
“The protocol is being implemented for a reason … don’t wait until it hits your family,” Fernandez said.
Of the eight members of her family who survived COVID-19, Fernandez and her 69-year-old mother still face protracted health challenges, and the Octavia battle continues.
“Every time I see her and see her fight, I remember COVID doing this to her,” Fernandez said.
COVID-19 has killed 500,000 Americans, but like Dennis and her entire family, there are far more lives that have changed forever.