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After Losing My Father to COVID, I’ve Now Been Exposed to the Virus by The Donald Himself

Kristin Urquiza’s father, Mark, died of COVID last June. Last month Urquiza wrote, “He was terrified of dying but he also felt betrayed” by President Trump and Arizona governor Doug Ducey. Now Urquiza fears Trump personally exposed her to the virus.

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Krisitin Urquiza with her father, Mark.
Krisitin Urquiza with her father, Mark, in Phoenix, AZ in 2017. Mark, who voted for Trump, died on June 30, 2020 of the coronavirus at age 65., Krisitin Urquiza/Facebook photo

The verdict was already in that Trump’s behavior at Tuesday’s debate showed his complete disregard for our democratic process and voters’ right to hear directly from our Presidential candidates. But as news spreads that Trump, Melania, Hope Hicks, and probably many more of Trump’s inner circle are COVID-positive, another thing becomes clear: Trump has no regard for human life.

I was invited by Vice President Biden to the debate to represent my dad, who died of COVID after AZ Gov. Doug Ducey, Trump’s willing partner-in-crime, lifted the state’s shelter-in-place order even as COVID rates were skyrocketing, and announced on television that it was safe to return to normal life if you were free of pre-existing conditions. 

So in a way, it was not surprising to learn that I’ve now been exposed to COVID by The Donald himself as I sat about 15 feet away from him, in the very first row of the debate hall, while he yelled and mocked VP Biden for wearing masks. 

Every attendee, myself included, was only allowed into the debate hall after we tested COVID-negative. But given the limitations of rapid testing and Cleveland’s own COVID rules, everyone in that hall should have been wearing masks. And though every one of Biden’s guests managed to do this, Trump’s guests were shockingly barefaced. 

Vice President Biden and his guests took every precaution to ensure the safety of all those inside the debate hall. And yet again, Donald Trump's contemptuous disregard for science and the value of human lives has jeopardized the lives of Americans, including myself. The Trump family exposed every attendee at the debate: guests, workers, Members of Congress, Secret Service agents, members of the media, and janitors to a deadly virus that has killed 205,000 Americans to date, with another thousand dying each day that Donald Trump refuses to take leadership and protect Americans from this deadly virus. Irresponsible is an understatement: this is criminal. 

How many people must die before we deliver what the American people deserve: a coordinated data-driven, national response to this pandemic. How much more must COVID survivors, COVID families, and all others Marked by COVID suffer before our losses are acknowledged and recognized.

I am terrified. I know the darkest result of COVID: an undignified and lonesome death. Something I would not wish upon my worst enemy, present company included. I am working to get a test as soon as possible and will quarantine until I am certain that I am not putting others at risk. 

This frightening development will not stop the Week of Mourning from taking place. We will honor the survivors and encourage all those who have lost loved ones and friends to join us in daily virtual vigils at 12:00 noon Eastern Time every day from October 4 to 11. Please visit www.weekofmourning.com to learn more and join me. 

[Kristin Urquiza, is an activist and advocate and the co-founder of Marked by COVID. The Week of Mourning will be hosted by Urquiza and include a National COVID Remembrance on the National Mall, in-person vigils held nationwide, and a daily virtual vigil. The vigils will feature honored guest speakers who have experienced loss during this pandemic. Each Virtual Vigil focuses on a community suffering from our leadership’s failure to manage the virus in this country.]