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Following Trump’s Remark that People Shouldn’t “Be Afraid of COVID” or “Let It Dominate Your Life,” Americans Who Lost Loved Ones to COVID Speak Out

NEW YORK – In response to news that President Trump is leaving Walter Reed Hospital and his tweet minimizing the dangers of COVID-19, the non-partisan grassroots survivor network, COVID Survivors for Change, released the following statements:

“As a nurse in New York City, I watched as medical teams fought like hell to save patients from COVID-19,” said Liza Billings, a member of COVID Survivors for Change who is an ER nurse in New York City and lost her brother to COVID-19. “All too often, this deadly and ferocious virus won. To see the president tell his followers not to fear COVID is a slap in the face to all of those who lost a loved one to COVID-19, as well as all of us who put our lives on the line to save others. It’s a callous and dangerous remark that will do nothing to stop this horrifying pandemic, and may even make it worse.”

“My dad loved to talk and I miss talking to him,” said Brian Walter, a COVID Survivors for Change member in New York who is an essential transit worker and whose father was killed by COVID-19. “To hear Trump say that people shouldn’t fear this virus hurts. It makes me worry for all the families who will still experience the loss of a loved one because our president refuses to take this pandemic seriously. I love the community of COVID-19 survivors I’ve met these last few months, but I don’t want anyone else to have to join us.”

“The president has access to medical treatments that aren’t available to most people, and it very well may have saved his life,” said Chris Kocher, executive director of COVID Survivors for Change. “But more than 200,000 people are dead on his watch. For the families of those taken by COVID-19, nothing will ever feel normal again. For the long haulers living with symptoms of COVID-19 for months on end, this virus is terrifying. Trump doesn’t care, and he still doesn’t get what families are going through.”

COVID Survivors for Change members available for interviews include:

  • Liza Billings, ER nurse in NYC whose brother was taken by COVID-19
  • Brian Walter, Essential worker for NYC Transit, who lives with his wife, father and mother. The entire family got COVID-19 and Brian’s father, John Walter, was killed by it.
  • Aaron Burch, Army Reserve member in Michigan. Aaron’s mother died of COVID-19 in June, just weeks after learning that Aaron’s wife was pregnant with her first grandson.
  • Rev. Brenda Mitchell, a faith leader outside of  Chicago, IL, who has lost friends to COVID-19 and presided over numerous funerals.
  • Chris Kocher, executive director of COVID Survivors for Change

About COVID Survivors for Change

COVID Survivors for Change is a national, non-partisan movement bringing together Americans who have lost a loved one to COVID-19, as well as those who have survived the virus and those whose lives have been dramatically altered by the pandemic. As part of COVID Survivors for Change, Americans are mobilizing to make sure that communities have the funding, resources and leadership in place to address future public health emergencies. Survivors will also find community and healing in meeting other people whose lives have been forever changed by the pandemic. For more information, please visit: