A Georgia teen lost his parents to the coronavirus within the span of four days, despite both taking daily safety precautions to protect themselves amid the pandemic.
Justin Hunter, a 17-year-old at Johns Creek High School, where he plays football, said he and his parents tested positive for COVID-19 roughly two weeks ago, but he remained asymptomatic.
The teen’s parents, Eugene Hunter, 59, and Angie Hunter, 57, however, began developing debilitating symptoms as the trio quarantined at home outside Atlanta, he told WSB-TV.
“They became very sick and they had the clear symptoms,” Hunter told the station. “Their temperatures skyrocketed. They had headaches. Horrible cough. They felt very lazy.”
The family called an ambulance as the couple’s condition worsened. Hunter’s father then died at a hospital days later on July 26, he said.
Hunter’s mother then succumbed to the virus Thursday — four days later — at the same hospital. The teen isn’t sure where his parents picked up the bug since they had taken steps to protect themselves, including wearing a mask in public.
“We were a regular family just trying to stay safe during this pandemic,” Justin told the station. “When my mom would go to the store, she would be wearing a mask and she would be wearing gloves.”
The teen, who plays middle linebacker, said he now plans on dedicating his senior season to his parents, who had been married for 35 years, he said.
“Since I started playing, we always talked about me playing in college and then playing in the pros,” Justin said. “They would have wanted me to keep going and get a scholarship and get my schoolwork done.”
The teen said his mother told him she loved him before she died and told him, “God has you,” while his father vowed to keep battling the virus, WSB-TV reports.
“Basically, last thing he said was ‘I love you and I’m going to get better and I’m going to keep fighting,’” Justin recalled. “They never raised me to sit around and feel sorry for myself in any situation, and I just gotta keep going and pushing.”
An online fundraiser set up to establish a trust for the teen has eclipsed $245,000 as of early Monday.
Justin, meanwhile, who remained in quarantine Sunday, said he still feels his parents’ presence.
“I know they’re watching me from above and they’re gonna be the ones to give me strength to get through this,” the teen told WXIA. “I know they’re with God, so they’re in good hands.”