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Bereaved relatives who lost three members of their family to Covid-19 in five days have been targeted by social media trolls claiming the virus is a hoax.
Gladys Lewis, 74, from Pentre in south Wales, died at the Royal Glamorgan hospital on 29 October. Her son Dean Lewis, 44, was found unresponsive at his home in nearby Treorchy the next day and pronounced dead a short time later. His younger brother Darren, 42, died at the same hospital as his mother on Monday.
All three had tested positive for coronavirus before they died and their death certificates state Covid-19 as the cause. After news of the family’s tragedy was published online, however, some social media users refused to accept they had died of coronavirus.
There were also comments asking what underlying health conditions they had, and some suggested their diet and lifestyle had been a factor in their deaths.
Dean’s wife, Claire Lewis, told Channel 4 News that people who think Covid is a conspiracy need to “wise up”.
“The comments we have seen I try to blank out as much as possible because people are cruel,” she said. “There have been some amazing comments where people have given us support and even strangers have said how heartfelt they are. But for the people who are trolling, I just feel sorry for you because I hope it doesn’t happen to you.”
David Lewis, Gladys’s husband of 44 years, echoed Claire’s comments. He urged people to “believe this is real” and said that “if they lose what we’ve lost, then they will suffer”.
David described his wife as a wonderful woman who was a devoted mother, grandmother of 13 and great-grandmother of four. Asked about Dean and Darren, David said: “What can a father say when he’s lost two sons? I love them so much. It’s devastating. I don’t know how I’m going to get through it.”
His daughter, Debbie Mountjoy, said the comments on social media broke their hearts: “I just hope none of them have to go through anything like what we and hundreds and thousands of other families have had to go through with Covid-19.
“They want to spend a couple of minutes with me, my dad, Claire, Claire’s children and my children to see the devastation that we are going through as a family.
“Spend five minutes with us and they’ll know it’s real.”
Debbie described Gladys as “the best mother and grandmother anyone could ask for”, and Claire said her husband had had a heart of gold and adored his family. Darren was “the most lovable, happy man”, the family said.
The family are unsure how their loved ones contracted coronavirus. Darren, who had Down’s syndrome, had not left his home since February except to attend hospital appointments. His mother, who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema, had also been shielding, and Dean only went out once a week to shop for his parents.
Ten other members of the family, including Debbie, David and Claire, also tested positive for coronavirus and have been self-isolating.
“We were scared of the virus anyway,” said Debbie. “But now we are absolutely terrified … I’m so scared because of losing the three of them that I’m going to lose my dad or somebody else.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Family mourning loss of three members to Covid targeted by social media trolls | World news