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Phoenix taqueria shop owner loses wife, friends to COVID-19; restaurant temporarily closed

As of Dec. 18, a little more than 7,800 people in Arizona have died of COVID-19 per the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Since August, Ralph Ung says three of those deaths are people closest to him, including the love of his life who helped build his business up, a restaurant now currently shut down.

"She was my everything, she was my everything. The queen of the family."

And the queen of his heart.

Ralph Ung and Lynn Moreno spent more than two decades together. Eight years ago, they opened Taquerias El Chino in Phoenix.

In 2020 they battled through financial struggles caused by the pandemic, but just before this Thanksgiving, Lynn became sick.

"The last time I [saw] her was at the shop. She called me and she told me she was going to go to urgent care and that's the last time I actually talked to her or seen her when I left that day," Ung said.

Infected with COVID-19, Lynn moved from urgent care in Glendale to a hospital in Mesa and was transferred to an ICU in Chandler and put on a ventilator.

Lynn left Ralph a note. It reads, "Honey. Love you very much. Take care of yourself."

On Sunday, Ralph said goodbye to Lynn over FaceTime.

The third loved one he's lost to COVID-19 in four months. He says two of his best friends passed away over the summer.

Meanwhile, Ralph has temporarily closed his shop until the New Year as he takes care of his family.

"Business went down 70%. It was to the point that we talked about almost every single month about closing and it's been a struggle and it's still a struggle."

Ralph and other family members also had the coronavirus. Recovered now, but missing Lynn, a beloved wife, mother and grandmother who loved to dance.

"Some people think that it's not real, it's a hoax and I want them to think twice and if I could change one person's mind every time they hear my story, I'll do it every day."

Ralph also lost his mother this summer due to another illness.

If you'd like to help out Ralph and his family, please visit their GoFundMe here.

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In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily

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Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic:

COVID-19 surge: Banner Health using refrigerated trucks to expand morgue capacity

An Arizona medical group is now using refrigerated trucks to store bodies as COVID-19 takes an increasingly deadly toll on our state.

Arizona researchers: COVID-19 could become 'humanitarian crisis' in the state

Researchers say virus cases in Arizona are doubling about every 14 days now, and things will likely get worse in the coming weeks.

Valley doctors say there's a long COVID-19 battle ahead, not to fear the vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine isn't to be feared, two Arizona doctors say, explaining that they'll be the first to receive the vaccine and hope to treat patients in thee future who aren't as sick as some are now.