CHICAGO (CBS) — Although much of the contemporary discussion of COVID-19 centers around rolling out the vaccines, there are still people dying and contracting the virus at an alarming rate in Chicago.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Monday night, the number of positive COVID cases in Chicago has been gradually creeping back up – and there is one group that is seeing the highest increase across the state and within Chicago. Now, one family has made a plea to continue to take the virus seriously – after losing their 18-year-old daughter.READ MORE: MISSING: Matthew La Luz, 32, Last Seen In Rogers Park, May Need Serious Medical Attention
“I don’t know what to do!” said Darica Hollins. “I am lost! I am lost!”
Still quarantining in her home, Hollins struggles with the loss of her daughter, Zmaya Bell.
“She loved to dance,” Hollins said.
Like most 18-year-olds, Bell enjoyed recording herself. Now, the videos are the lasting images of a young life ripped away by COVID.
“God blessed me with five gorgeous kids, and a piece of my puzzle is missing right now,” Hollins said.
Recently, Hollins’ entire family contracted the virus. Yet last week, Bell showed symptoms like no one else in the house.
Her mom took her to the hospital and they came back the next day. But hours after returning home, Bell told her mother: “Mama, can you hold me in your arms? Because I can’t breathe.”
Zmaya Bell’s brother, Zachary Bell, helped rush his sister back to the hospital.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Spotty Showers Sunday Night, Monday
“I was there in the waiting room, and I was there trying to calm her down, and I was there talking to her,” Zachary Bell said. “I’m telling her: ‘Everything’s going to be OK. Calm down. Breathe.’”
Zmaya Bell survived one day in the hospital before passing away.
“That was my heart,” Zachary Bell said. “That was my right hand.”
Zmaya Bell’s death illustrates an alarming trend of younger adults testing positive for coronavirus. Across Chicago in March, people under 20 saw a 32 percent jump in deadly cases.
But for those ages 20 to 29, it doubled, and soared 126 percent in positive daily cases.
“Stop going out partying,” Zachary Bell said. “You know, stop being in big groups, knowing that we have to stay six feet apart.”
Zmaya Bell’s death so far into the pandemic makes it tougher. She was not eligible for the vaccine yet.
Now, her mother sends a message to any youngsters rushing to social gatherings.
“Don’t do this, or you’re going to be sitting right in the same place I’m sitting – hurting,” Hollins said.MORE NEWS: At Least 22 People Shot, 3 Killed In Gun Violence In Chicago This Weekend
The family is showing signs of recovering from the virus – yet they are having problems paying for the funeral. If you’d like to help, click here.