The first reported case of a nurse in
New York City dying from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new
coronavirus, was a gay man.
Kious Kelly, 48, was an assistant nurse
manager at Mount Sinai West in Manhattan.
According to The New York Times,
Kelly told his sister, Marya Patrice Sherron, on March 18 that he was
in the ICU after testing positive for the virus. He was placed on a
ventilator but died on Tuesday.
Sherron said that her brother had
asthma but was otherwise healthy.
Co-workers said that the lack of
personal protective equipment such as masks and gowns contributed to
Kelly's death. He had been seen treating patients without such
“His death could have been
prevented,” Sherron said in a Facebook post. “Please help get our
healthcare workers the protection they need.”
Several staffers echoed those remarks
in comments to the
New York City hospitals have struggled
as New York almost overnight became the epicenter of the epidemic in
the United States with more than 59,600 cases as of Sunday.
Kelly moved to New York from his
hometown of Lansing, Michigan over 20 years ago with the dream of
becoming a dancer. He later turned to a career in nursing.
GoFundMe campaign set up to help support his family has raised
over $19,000 as of Sunday. The campaign was started by Kelly's
co-workers who said that he returned to Michigan on weekends to visit
and care for his parents who were in failing health.
“The 10B nurses in Mount Sinai West
started this fund, knowing many of his friends, colleagues, and
acquaintances want to contribute to ease the burden of the family
from his sudden passing,” wrote co-workers, who described Kelly as
“a joy to be around.”
“REST IN PEACE KIOUS...you are an
inspiration to us,” they added. “Thank you for your dedication to
nursing. We love you and will never forget you.”