American teacher wore oxygen mask to teach virtually before dying from Covid-19

Shannon McDonagh
Tuesday 22 December 2020 16:22
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The death of a teacher from the US of Covid-19 has broken the hearts of many after her brother revealed she was teaching with an oxygen mask right up until it was physically impossible to do so.

Philamena Belone was admitted to hospital after being diagnosed with pneumonia and Covid-19 but spent just three days there, wanting to get back to teaching her third grade class.

From here, the 44-year-old would conduct lessons accompanied with an oxygen tank and mask. This only lasted two weeks before her condition worsened, returning to hospital where she would eventually pass away. 

It has raised questions about how this could have been avoided, with Belone leaving behind not only her classes but three children.

Key workers trying to complete their jobs while attached to machines that are literally keeping them alive was a formerly unthinkable reality of this year.

Front line workers in the US summed it up as best as a person can following such a tragedy.

Her brother stressed her devotion to her job, telling CNN that along with teaching behaviourally challenged students via Zoom, she would make extra time in the evenings to assist those without any internet via phone.

"The most difficult students were given to my sister," Belone explained. "She taught kids everyone gave up on but her. She never gave up on anyone."

She belonged to and taught within the Navajo Nation indigenous area of New Mexico, which has suffered from the highest Covid-19 rates per capita in the US. A fundraiser for her funeral and hospital bills has now surpassed its initial goal of $20,000.

The US’ handling of Covid-19 is no better than our own, deaths like this should not be commonplace. 

The incoming presidency must learn from them.

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