Indiana Teenager Dies of COVID After Being Hospitalized for Over a Month

A teenager in Indiana has died of COVID after being hospitalized with the disease for over a month.

Isaiah Mays, 19, first told his mother he did not feel well in the week of December 7, although he had no symptoms specific to COVID, the Evansville Courier and Press reported. On December 13 he started struggling to breathe, and tested positive for the virus the next day. Two days later, his condition had worsened to the point doctors decided to put him in a medically induced coma for around a week.

After the teenager's condition started deteriorating again, doctors put him back into a coma. Mays died on 26 January after developing complications from COVID, according to a GoFundMe set up to raise money for his funeral expenses.

The GoFundMe page has raised almost $14,000 since it was started five days ago.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer children and teenagers have been sick with COVID than adults, but it is possible for them to fall ill and spread the virus. Most children have no or mild symptoms, but in rare cases, like that of Mays', they may be hospitalized and die.

Individuals with underlying health conditions are more likely to get seriously ill with COVID than others. Mays was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning the lower left chamber of his heart did not fully form, and had his first of three open-heart surgeries when he was three weeks old.

Friends and loved ones have paid tribute to the teenager who was close to getting his high school diploma when he fell sick. His teacher called his mother Machelle Mays after he died to tell her he would receive his diploma posthumously.

Mays told the Evansville Courier and Press: "I've got my moments where I'm just crying, crying, crying. But I tell you what, most of these days I've been smiling. I have been filled with joy ... rejoicing and thinking about my baby's life and who he's touched."

Brayan Mayberry, May's cousin, told the Evansville Courier and Press: "This was just really shocking and devastating."

Mays' aunt Tiffany Mays-McGuire told the outlet: "He took life by the horns and said, 'I'm going to live it the best way I can while I'm here,'"

R.C. Lehman, his teacher for the 2019/2020 school year, said Mays would always be the first student to offer to hand out materials in class, or help out fellow students in the hallway.

"I think that the legacy Isaiah left with me is that I don't want his kindness to leave with him," Lehman said.

One Facebook user who said they knew Mays wrote in a post remembering him: "isaiah was SUCH a sweet boy who always thought about others ."

Another wrote: "He was way too young to leave us this soon. I will always have room for him in my heart and his friends and family will be in my thoughts and prayers. It's not a goodbye but a see you later."

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A stock image shows a hospital patient's hand.19-year-old Isaiah Mays died before getting his high school diploma. Getty