Unvaccinated Utah Mom, 23, Dies of COVID After Delaying Shot to Breastfeed

A Utah mother who contracted COVID and was hospitalized at the end of October has passed away, according to a GoFundMe page to support her family.

Named as Dezi Scopesi by news outlet Fox 13, she was 23 when she tested positive for the virus in October and had been battling severe COVID symptoms for some weeks before she passed away after initially struggling to catch her breath.

In recent weeks her husband Stephen was having to work while Scopesi was ill in the hospital because while he qualified for up to 12 weeks' family leave, this would have been unpaid, according to the GoFundMe page.

The GoFundMe page was set up to help enable Stephen to go on family leave for a few months to spend more time with his family during this time, as well as to help the family pay for the insurance costs associated with Scopesi's medical care.

In an update posted over the weekend, organizer LaShae Steele wrote: "It is with extremely heavy hearts that we let you all know… our sweet Dezi passed away on Thursday evening.

"We feel so much strength and comfort from the endless love and support we have received from all of you."

Services are being planned for the weekend and an obituary is coming soon, the note added.

Scopesi was a mom to a 1-year-old son. According to a GoFundMe page, she had been planning to get a COVID vaccine but had decided to hold off because she was breastfeeding her baby.

As of around 11:00 a.m. ET on Monday morning the fundraising page had gained just over $38,000 of its $50,000 goal to help the family.

In November, Nicole Cowley, Scopesi's sister, told Utah news outlet Fox 13 it was "very sobering" to see how fast her condition progressed.

The mom had been put on supplemental oxygen at the start of her hospital care but this had progressed to her needing an ECMO machine that adds oxygen to the blood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says: "People who are pregnant or recently pregnant are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with people who are not pregnant."

It adds: "COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future."

According to the CDC, COVID cases across the nation as a whole have been increasing in recent days.

As of December 3, the seven-day moving average of new cases had risen to 106,000, having been 83,617 on November 26 a week prior, CDC data shows.

Doctor holding patient's hand
A stock photo shows a doctor holding a patient's hand as they lie in a hospital bed. U.S. COVID cases and deaths have been increasing recently. michaeljung/Getty