Woman Who Lost 3 Family Members Offers Advice to Those Not Taking COVID-19 Seriously

A Maryland woman who lost three family members to the novel coronavirus gave advice Friday for those who are not taking the pandemic seriously.

Shanta Leake-Cherry lost two siblings, John Jr. and Enekee Leake, and her mother to the novel coronavirus in March and April. Her mother Leslie Leake passed away April 30.

"A lot of people are not taking the [novel coronavirus] seriously. Following CDC guidelines, staying home is the best thing that you can do if at all possible," Leak-Cherry said in an interview with ABC 7 News in Washington, DC.

"Family gatherings are not going to be the same," she said after suffering the devastating losses.

Enekee Leake was diagnosed with COVID-19 back in February. Leake-Cherry said her sister spent two weeks on a ventilator before ultimately passing away. After that, Leake-Cherry learned that her brother and mother were both hospitalized with the virus.

Leake-Cherry's brother and mother lived in the same D.C. home along with her father, niece, and nephew; both had asthma, according to a report by The Washington Post. They were both having trouble breathing around the time of Enekee Leake's death on April 11, which they had blamed on the pollen, according to Leake-Cherry.

Both of them were taken to separate hospitals in the D.C. area on April 19. John Leake Jr. passed away at Howard University Hospital and Leslie Leake died at George Washington University Hospital, according to The Washington Post.

"My mom passed on April 30th, yesterday. Her last words to us, through the nurses, was 'not to worry' and that she would be ok," Leake-Cherry told ABC 7 News.

Leslie Leake was known for being a charitable member of her community, according to her daughter. Even though Leake was on a "fixed income, she made sure that she fed those in need."

Leake-Cherry said she would continue her mother's legacy.

"I will continue to keep the faith just by praying to God and reading my word. If I didn't have my faith, I would be in a corner, looking at a wall....It is my faith that is keeping me strong," she said.

Friends of the family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the Leakes during this devastating time. ABC 7 News reported that Leake-Cherry's father and nephew have also been diagnosed with coronavirus, though they are expected to be alright.

Leake-Cherry said her father will likely move in with her after the pandemic ends to "keep him close."

Ambulances sit outside the emergency room at Washington Hospital Center during the COVID-19, known as coronavirus, pandemic in Washington, DC, April 7, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images) SAUL LOEB/Getty