As the pandemic spread of coronavirus threatens the world’s population, America has tragically become the country with the highest number of patients testing positive with COVID-19. With the number of those infected with coronavirus growing exponentially each day, largely due to the fact more people are gaining access to testing, tragically, the death toll of victims also continues to rise.
In Washington D.C., as of March 27, there are 271 patients who have tested positive for coronavirus and four deaths. To prevent these numbers from further growing D.C. officials have issued a “Stay at Home” order, and non-essential businesses have been shut down, including the District’s museums, national parks, playgrounds, over 10 Metro stop stations, and all schools.
As D.C.’s Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said via Twitter, “As a community, we must continue to support one another during these uncertain times. Everyone must do their part so that we can blunt the spread and protect our families, friends, and neighbors.”
In remembrance of the victims lost in the Washington metropolitan area, the following list includes their names, photos, and tribute messages.
Those who’ve been lost in D.C. but not yet publicly identified include a 65-year-old woman on March 23, She had underlying health issues before being tested for COVID-19. On March 25, a 75-year-old woman passed away from coronavirus who also had underlying health issues prior to being diagnosed.
John-Sebastian Laird-Hammond, A Franciscan Friar Died at 59
Brother John-Sebastion Laird Hammond, 59, originally from the Minonk area in Illinois, was the first coronavirus-related death in Washington. Mayor Bowser confirmed the news via Twitter on March 20. She tweeted, “It is with great sadness that we announce a tragic death and, on behalf of our residents, I share our love and condolences with the patient’s family and friends.”
“He just fought for those little people,” Nikki Oblinger-Hammond, his sister, told the State-Journal Register. “There wasn’t a person he didn’t help at any time of the hour. So many people said, ‘He changed my life.’”
According to NBC 4 Washington, Laird-Hamilton had a fever and a cough and was admitted to the hospital a week prior to his death. He also had underlying health conditions. Hammond, who served as the secretariat to the Commissariat of the Holy Land USA, was a leukemia patient for nearly 14 years. He also suffered a bout of pneumonia prior to testing positives for COVID-19.
After reaching a temperature of 103 degrees, “I said, ‘You need to go to the hospital,’” Oblinger-Hammond recalled. “He told me they told him to take some Tamiflu. I said, ‘This is coronavirus,’ you need to tell them that. He was home for two days before they brought him in. By then, it was really too late. I talked to the doctor and he said his temperature rose to 108 and his organs started shutting down.”
Before his death, Hammond was in the process of moving to New York to join the Franciscan friars of the Immaculate Conception Province. Michele Thiec of Washington said of Hammond,
“Such a kind soul and an amazing example of Franciscan joy.”
Former D.C. Deputy Attorney General George Valentine Died at 66
George Valentine, a Harvard educated attorney, who worked in Mayor Murial Bowser’s Office of Legal Counsel for over two decades, passed away from coronavirus on March 27.
Bowser said of his passing, “It’s devastating,” the mayor said with a quiver in her voice. “We are just very sorry.” Dean Brenner tweeted, “Very sad. Years ago, I interacted with George Valentine on behalf of a homeless, pregnant woman I represented as she was being evicted from a shelter. I filed an emergency motion. He took one look at it & immediately reversed the eviction. RIP, George.”