2 families deal with the loss of unvaccinated loved ones to COVID-19

ATLANTA — COVID-19 deaths are rising in Georgia, with 257 people reported dead across the state on Wednesday and Thursday combined.

The two-day death total is the highest since March. Hospitalizations are also at a record high, as doctors fear this surge has yet to reach its peak.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, less than 1% of COVID-19 deaths this year have been among vaccinated people.

“We all begged her to get vaccinated,” said Luz Ana Yelena Figueroa, who lost her mother to COVID-19 last week.

Her mother, 64-year-old Margarita Figueroa, had done her research before deciding not to get vaccinated, but her daughter says it was all disinformation.

She says her mother was obsessed with videos online that claimed the vaccines could alter DNA and magnetize the body.

“She kept showing me, ‘Look at all these videos,’” she said. “So when [my father and I] both got vaccinated, we got a magnet and showed her, ‘Look, nothing.’”

When the whole Figueroa family became infected with the virus last month, it was only Margarita who ended up in the ICU. She died last Tuesday.

“I got it and I was sick,” said Figueroa, “but if I hadn’t yet been vaccinated, then I probably would have been in the room next to my mom.”

Not everyone had a simple choice of whether to get vaccinated or not.

Tammy Brewer was a 50-year-old Polk County mother who died just two weeks ago from COVID, according to her daughter.

Renee Agan says her mom had heart problems so severe her doctors worried she could have a reaction to a vaccine.

“She wanted to [get vaccinated], but she was not able to because the doctors wouldn’t let her because she was in such bad health,” said Agan.

By Friday, it’s likely that 20,000 Georgians will have died from COVID-19 since last year.

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“It’s scary,” said Agan, “and it’s unfair to know that a virus can take people out like that.”

For the Figueroa family, they say Margarita’s death has made some family friends now want to get vaccinated. They’re hopeful her story can save lives.

“Don’t let our tragedy become your tragedy,” said Figueroa.

Both families are dealing with mounting hospital and funeral costs.

The Figueroa family is raising money to help with hospital bills here.

Renee Agan is raising money to help bury her mother here.