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Missouri family spreads awareness about severity of COVID-19

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SCOTT COUNTY, Mo. (WSIL) -- Although many have recovered from the virus those who haven't leave loved ones forever changed.

A Missouri family is speaking out about the severity of COVID-19.

Oran, Missouri resident Debbie Gaines says her husband John Gaines was a soft-spoken man and a hardworking farmer.

"Very kind, very easy-going person, to all of his friends over the years, to the family and everybody. He was a great dad, you know? To the kids," she said.

Back in October, Gaines says they both fell ill, but didn't think it was COVID-19.

"We both started having symptoms, but I only had symptoms for one day. Just a 99 fever a headache and a little diarrhea but he had diarrhea going on for a couple weeks and we never lost the taste and smell so we figured it was just a virus," she said.

After testing positive, they stayed home to recuperate. Gaines recovered and after two weeks her husband started seeing improvements. But by the third and fourth week he had pneumonia, his oxygen saturation plummeted to 74% and was admitted to the COVID Care Unit at Saint Francis Medical Center.

"They put him on the ventilator and sedated him like a real deep sedation that would take a while for him to come out of and then on the 21st they were going to do these breathing trials," she said.

Gaines says his condition worsened with multi-organ failure. By the end of the week the Gaines family had to say goodbye. His sister Betty Essner says the virus still puzzles her.

"This whole thing has taught me is you don't know where, who, or what and where the disease is," she said.

Gaines and Essner say it's important to keep following CDC guidelines.

"It could be the death of you, your loved ones, whoever. You need to wash your hands, do the social distance, wear the mask at all times whenever you're around people," said Gaines.

The family hopes their story will help put a face to the COVID-19 numbers that are reported daily and remind people those numbers represent somebody's loved one.

Read their full story here.

Maya Skinner

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