WWII veteran and wife who contracted coronavirus die on the same day

Second World War veteran, 102, and his wife of 78 years who contracted coronavirus die just two hours apart after their family decided to let them stay together because they had never been separated

  • David Cohen, 102, and Muriel Cohen, 97, died Friday of coronavirus
  • The couple were married for 78 years and had only been apart when David served in World War Two and helped to liberate the Ohrdruf concentration camp
  •  Both were tested for coronavirus but only Muriel was positive
  • Their family decided to keep the couple together and they died within hours of each other
  • The couple met in the summer of 1942 when Muriel left nursing school in Brooklyn to marry David 
  • There have been more than 26,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

A couple married for 78 years died within hours of each other Friday after the husband, a World War Two veteran, remained with his wife despite her coronavirus diagnosis.

David and Muriel Cohen from Massachusetts shared a room in their nursing home and the family chose to keep them together even as 97-year-old Muriel tested positive for the fatal virus.

After 78 years of marriage, the couple had never been separated, apart from David’s service during World War Two when he helped liberate the Ohrdruf concentration camp in Germany in 1945.

‘I said, “My parents cannot be separated, and my dad and mother have to stay together,” so that was exactly what we did,’ the couple’s daughter, Fran Grosnick, told WCVB. 

David and Muriel Cohen were married for 78 years and died of coronavirus within hours of each other Friday after deciding to remain together after Muriel’s diagnosis

David and Muriel Cohen are pictured with their daughter Fran Grosnick who said that the couple had never been separated apart from David’s World War Two service

The Longmeadow couple, who were residents at the Jewish Nursing Home, were both tested for coronavirus but only Muriel tested positive.

‘They were both very ill with other conditions, and aware only that they were together. This was comforting and they did not suffer,’ Grosnick explained of the decision to leave them sharing a room instead of isolating. 

David and Muriel, then Muriel Brown, first met in the summer of 1942 when she was in nursing school in Brooklyn. 

‘Their love story began in the summer of 1942 and continued until last Friday,’ Grosnick said.

‘She left nursing school to marry him and they were always together, except for when he was in the service.’ 

David passed away at 6.50pm Friday, aged 102, and Muriel died less than two hours later at 8.30pm.

‘My parents are together and my parents are at peace,’ Grosnick said.

‘I was very fortunate to have my parents for a very long time. I was fortunate and I was blessed, and I’m going to remember that.’ 

Photos taken by David at Ohrdruf concentration camp are displayed in the permanent collection at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. He served as a radio operator with the U.S. Army. 

‘When my father got there, it was the most horrific sight that (he said) he had ever seen in his entire life,’ Grosnick said.

‘He spent the rest of his life speaking about his liberating experiences and teaching area school children about the Holocaust and to “never hate”,’ Cohen’s family wrote his obituary. 

‘During David’s time in the military, during the liberation, [he] took an abundance of photographs, some of which can be seen in the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.’

According to WCVB, the family plans to hold a celebration of the couple’s lives when the pandemic is over.

College baseball player, 21, dies after a week on a ventilator, despite family thinking he could pull through

In Colorado, the family of 21-year-old baseball player Cody Lyster are in mourning after he died from coronavirus on April 8.

His doctors initially believed he would pull through, as he was a young and active man with no underlying health conditions, but within days he was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator.

He is the youngest person in Colorado to die from the virus. 

While coronavirus is known to be especially perilous for the elderly, there are still young and healthy adults among the more than 26,000 fatalities across the United States. 

Cody Lyster, 21, from Colorado, developed coronavirus symptoms in March but as a young baseball player doctors initially thought he would pull through. He died on April 8

Lyster’s father, pictured left with the other members of the family, was the first to test positive for coronavirus and despite attempts to isolate, Cory also became infected

‘They felt he was strong, his heart looked good, [because] he was a college athlete playing baseball,’ his father Kevin Lyster, 49, told PEOPLE.

‘He was living right and doing everything that he was supposed to be doing, and they believed he would make it through.’

His father, a police officer, had already tested positive for the virus in mid-March before Cody returned home for spring break from Colorado Mesa University. 

The family ensured they did not have contact with Kevin but Cody still managed to contract the virus.

‘I was down in either the basement or the family room,’ Kevin said.

‘We made sure that if somebody was going to a common room, like the kitchen, that we’d let each other know and we did everything that we were supposed to do to stay away from each other.’

Cody Lyster, in red, playing baseball. The 21-year-old first developed symptoms in March but his family called emergency services when his fever became so severe he was confused

Cody and his sister Sierra Lyster. Cody died days later after his heart and kidneys failed

Cody initially began to show signs of a fever but his symptoms worsened on March 30 when the 21-year-old began coughing badly and his family found him confused with a body temperature of 104 degrees.

‘At that point, we called the fire department and they came,’ Kevin said.

‘That was the last time I saw our son alive in person.’

Cody died days later after his heart and kidneys failed.

His family never got to say their goodbyes but they hope that his story can warn others of the danger of the outbreak and how it can affect anybody.

‘Our son is proof positive that it can take the life of a young person,’ his mother Lea Ann said.

‘I do think that there are a lot of younger people out there thinking, “I’m invincible, this can’t affect me.” Unfortunately, our family can tell you that that’s not the case.

‘He died alone’ she added.

‘I mean, there was no family. There was medical staff with him, but he died without one single family member there. It’s the worst feeling ever.’

‘My son has a very high platform from heaven right now,’ his father Kevin continued.

‘He has the message to get out to everybody across the world that you need to take this seriously and you need to stay at home.’

Cody is one of 329 coronavirus deaths in Colorado, where there are 7,950 confirmed cases.

As of Wednesday morning, there were 26,094 coronavirus deaths in the United States and more than 615,000 cases. 

New York man loses mother and brother to coronavirus in less than 24 hours

A New Yorker lost both his mother and brother to coronavirus in just 24 hours as the outbreak in the epicenter continues to cause significant loss of life.  

Louis Torres, 47,and his mother Lolita, 73, who passed away from coronavirus within less than 24 hours of each other in New York

Lloyd Torres, 49, described the heartbreak of losing two immediate family members in one day in Queens, the hardest hit borough in the city, and called on others to stay safe and to let his family be a warning. 

‘Grief is so different in this time of crisis, because we’re all isolated,’ he told NBC. 

‘You can’t have a funeral. You can’t have a memorial service. So you’re dependent on these phone calls, text messages and social media contact as a proxy for that.’ 

Torres’ brother Louis, 47, was director of food services at a nursing home in the Queens’ neighborhood of Woodside, and had continued to work even as the city was shutdown. 

He first fell ill on March 30 when he called his brother to tell him about his difficulties in getting home. 

Louis lived with the brothers’ mother Lolita, 73, who had immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines in the 1980s. 

‘He wasn’t eating,’ Torres said.

‘He said he couldn’t keep anything down. He was nauseous. Same thing with my mom.’ 

Louis Torres worked in a nursing home and continued to work even as the city shut down

Louis and Lolita Torres. Lolita, 73, moved to the U.S from the Philippines in the 1980s

 Louis took the next day off work but by April 1 was in so much pain 911 was called and he was brought to New York–Presbyterian Queens Hospital.

Their mother Lolita was brought to a different hospital later that day. 

Torres described the heartbreak of not being able to see his mother or brother, his only sibling, as they battled against the virus. 

The first challenge was tracking down their mother, as the family did not initially know which hospital she had been taken to. 

It took an entire day to find her as Torres, who works in information technology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and his wife, Chantal, who works in administration at White Plains Hospital, used their contacts within the healthcare system to track her down. 

 ‘A lot of other families don’t have those resources, don’t have those contacts, so I can only imagine what they’re going through in terms of getting updated information on their loved ones,’ Torres said.

He was able to use his contacts to get in touch with his brother and mother’s caregivers who would supply them with updates on their condition. 

Both Louis and Lolita tested positive for coronavirus and were diagnosed with pneumonia. 

Louis was brought intensive care while Lolita was using a mask with pressurized air as she was having trouble breathing. 

On the evening of April 6,  Torres was able to speak with his mother and they prayed the rosary together.

He received the news that she had passed away the following morning.  

Louis and Lolita Torres fell ill with coronavirus on the same day and died within 24 hours of each other as their son and brother Lloyd was left unable to say his goodbyes

Lloyd Torres had to track down his mother Lolita as he did not know what hospital she had been taken to. She died after her heart failed because of pneumonia on April 7

‘I think that gave her some peace and settled her down,’ he said. 

‘They said her heart had stopped,’

His 47-year-old brother died hours later after his heart also stopped. He had experienced deteriorating kidney functions and his lungs were not working properly. 

‘Dr. Ford had been calling me every day with updates on my brother,’ Torres said. 

‘I could feel the weight of the world crashing down on me.

 ‘I could tell that he and his team tried their best and did all they can do.’

He has now warned that people must remain vigilant and understand how serious the outbreak is. 

‘The thing that we hope that others understand is how serious this crisis is,’ he added. 

‘We all need to be very vigilant. No one could tell how my brother or mother contracted this. I don’t think we’ll ever find out.

‘If we can help other families understand the importance of not taking anything for granted and staying safe and protecting themselves and their communities, that will give their lives a sense of meaning.’ 

Eight retiree neighbors got infected with coronavirus and three died in weeks while they kept playing their beloved daily game of poker where they would swap stories about their grandchildren

Eight retiree neighbors got infected with coronavirus and three died in a matter of weeks while they kept playing their beloved daily game of poker where they would swap stories about their grandchildren.

The spread of the virus among the longtime friends, aged in their 70s to 90s, can be traced back to the last game they played on March 12 in Florida – several days before the state issued a lockdown order and banned gatherings.

The eight elderly retirees first met in South Florida casinos and formed a bond over their love of the game, before they started running their own game out of an Aventura condominium.

The group, who would travel on cruises together and saw each other as ‘family’, met to play poker five times a week for the last 10 years where they would play over pots of less than $100. 

A friendly poker game among a group of retired best friends is thought to have sparked a deadly coronavirus outbreak that infected all eight and killed three. Beverly Glass, 84, and Fred Sands, 86, a loving couple of 20 years, spent their last days together holding hands in their hospital beds and died end of March from coronavirus after the game

But the March 12 game would turn out to be fatal.

The group met as normal that day, hugging and passing round cards, cash and chips while they shared stories of their grandchildren.

Just weeks after the game, three of their group have been killed and the other five infected with the killer virus.  

Marcy Friedman, 94, a former New York secretary who moved to Florida to retire, helped organize the decades-long weekly games held at 7 p.m. Sunday to Thursday. 

She developed breathing difficulties on March 15 and was hospitalized the following day.

Ten days later she tested positive for coronavirus and died on March 28 at Aventura Hospital. 

She had underlying heart, lung and kidney conditions.

Marcy Friedman, 94, developed breathing difficulties on March 15 and was hospitalized the following day. Ten days later she tested positive for coronavirus and died on March 28

Two of the other friends Beverly Glass, 84, and Fred Sands, 86, a loving couple of 20 years who lived in Hollywood, also started showing symptoms of the virus within a week of the game.

They were admitted into Memorial Regional Hospital and tested positive for coronavirus.  

Sands died on March 27 and Glass died on March 31. They were able to spend their last days together holding hands across their hospital beds. 

Glass’ daughter Lori Helitzer told the Sentinel they were ‘not a sit-at-home couple’ but were ‘movers and shakers’ that regularly went to casinos around Florida.


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