EL PASO, Texas (NewsNation Now) — Almost everyone you talk to in El Paso has been impacted by COVID-19 in some way or another. Locals say for those who haven’t lost a loved one to the virus, daily case counts can seem like empty figures, but they warn the pandemic is very much real in El Paso.
NewsNation correspondent Markie Martin sat down with a woman who has lost five family members to the virus this year.
“I have no other way to describe it than—nightmare,” said Bonnie Soria Najera. “Every day I wake up, and it can’t be real.”
2020 has been a year of unfathomable loss for Najera. COVID-19 taking the lives of both her parents within three weeks of one another. “So first my mom in May, my dad in June,” she said.
Her father’s passing coming as she and her three daughters were headed to her mother’s funeral.
“I got a call from the hospital, they said your dad’s heart stopped,” said Najera. “We shocked him twice, we’ve been trying to resuscitate him.”
But her nightmare doesn’t end there. Not only did she lose her parents, but she also lost her aunt in August, a cousin in September, another aunt in November and she currently has an uncle in the ICU.
One loss — difficult enough, but she says five in one year has been impossible. She says it’s a loss felt citywide. On Thursday, El Paso reported close to 30,000 active cases and 725 deaths since the pandemic broke out.
A two-week shutdown order has now been extended through Thanksgiving.
“Just for a little while,” said Najera. “I know it’s hard, I know our businesses are struggling, but I think it’s worth it.”
Her remaining family has decided to cancel the big holiday gatherings this year, and she says if people put themselves in her shoes they’d likely do the same. In the meantime, she carries on for her children. And to her parents, she says this: “I’d just say I love you more than anything, and I’m sorry we didn’t have more time and I’m sorry we didn’t’ appreciate the time that we did have,” she said.