TEMPE, Ariz. - There is no doubt the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is affecting thousands of Arizonans, but for a Tempe teenager, these trying times have proved to be a true test of his character.
Elias Lendo just turned 18 in January, but in the span of just weeks, his brother and mother went to the hospital due to COVID-19.
His mother, Noa Bailey, died on Feb. 6 - just one day after FOX 10's original report on Elias's story.
His brother is still in the ICU battling COVID-19.
Teen faces challenges as mom and brother battled COVID
Lendo can't see them because of guidelines, but loved ones have surrounded him with support.
"It's tough not being able to see them every day," said Lendo.
It's been nearly a month since Lendo saw his mother, 41-year-old Noa Bailey, and his big brother, 24-year-old Jonathan Diaz. Lendo has lost his "normal," hiking and eating with the two people he loves most.
"Eating food, having a good time and talking, now it seems like a very hard thing to do nowadays," said Lendo.
Lendo never thought COVID-19 would hit his family the way it did. Bailey was at St. Luke's Hospital and needed 100% oxygen support in the ICU. Diaz, meanwhile is at St. Jude's Hospital, and is on an ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machine to pump oxygen to his blood.
Both Bailey and Diaz were on dialysis.
"I can imagine even subconsciously how she must be feeling, how much she would want to be with Jonathan and taking care of Elias as well," said Bailey's best friend, Susan Vie.
Vie is one of the many helping Lendo navigate a situation he's never prepared for.
"Elias is so strong," said Vie. "Elias is a hero to me."
While learning virtually full-time, Lendo, a senior at Tempe High School, is looking for a weekend job, taking life day by day and trying to ignore his fear of losing his mom and brother to the virus, a virus that has killed 13,948 people in Arizona, according to numbers from the Arizona Department of Health Services on Feb. 5.
"I could start paying bills," said Lendo. "I'm just worried about them, mostly. I know a lot of people on our side and they help raise a lot of money just so like I, this one man can stay here and the rest can go to my mom and brother."
Noa Bailey will be laid to rest on Feb. 11 at Green Acres Mortuary.
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Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu.
Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.
CDC Website for COVID-19
https://espanol.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (In Spanish/En Español)
AZDHS Website for COVID-19