Indianapolis (Kaiser Health News)It started as a normal day. Dawn Guest, 54, got up and headed out to her job as a nurse around 5 a.m. She heard her 16-year-old son, Andre, stirring in his room, but he had always been an earlier riser, even when his school was shut for Covid-19. Later that day she would get a call from her husband, telling her there was something wrong with their son.
Healthy teenager who took precautions died suddenly of Covid-19
That call would be the beginning of a 12-day journey that would end in tragedy.
"I can't tell you how a perfectly healthy 16-year-old boy can be making his own peanut butter sandwich late Wednesday night, getting his own tea out the fridge and head up to bed like any other teenager in the state or in the country is doing. And then within 24 hours is fighting for his life," Dawn said.
Andre, an easygoing sophomore at Lawrence North High School, loved YouTube and knew everything about video games; for his birthday in April, he asked for a game that wasn't set to be released until December, and his parents planned on getting it for him when it was released. He also loved photography and annoying his siblings and excelled at basketball and bowling.
Born prematurely at 25 weeks, he and twin sister Abby spent months in the hospital before they were brought home and later adopted by Dawn and her husband, Johnny. Though Andre was diagnosed with moderate autism, his parents were fierce advocates and he thrived with a positive attitude and a smile on his face. "He always just flew through," said Dawn.
Because Dawn is a nurse in the nursing home at a continuing care community, the family took more than the usual precautions when the coronavirus started to spread around the United States. After each shift, she'd take off her shoes at the door — where Johnny would disinfect them — and she'd head upstairs to shower. The family cleaned surfaces with disinfectant wipes, wore masks when they had to leave the house and practiced social distancing as much as possible.
In fact, Andre was the only family member who did not leave the house at all. But the virus has proven to be a wily foe, circulating in some communities before public health officials realized it was there. It found vulnerable people like Andre Guest despite all recommended precautions.