A 42 year-old woman branded a ‘healthy hand sanitizer queen’ by her family was killed by coronavirus after the disease filled her lungs with fluid.
Tanisha Cotton, from Little Rock in Arkansas, died of Covid-19 on March 28, four days after she checked into her local emergency room complaining that she was struggling to breathe.
Her grieving sister LaTia Wright, 34, says Cotton’s death should serve as a warning to people who believe coronavirus only kills the elderly and people with underlying health conditions. She believes Cotton’s employers helped seal her sister’s fate by failing to tell staff that they’d come into contact with an out-of-town visitor on March 11 who had been exposed to Covid-19. Bosses at the Carlton Bates Company are said to have waited a week before informing staff of that risk.
Wright says that one of Cotton’s co-workers at the plant, which makes electrical components, falsely tested positive for Covid-19 despite having the disease, further lulling her sister into a false sense of security.
The respiratory therapist, who is now herself treating coronavirus patients, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: ‘She was not given a chance to even fight for her life.
‘That’s how I see it.’
Four other workers at Carlton Bates have since tested positive for coronavirus, with two other staff members currently awaiting test results.
A spokesman for parent company Wesco said he was ‘unable to comment’ on what bosses knew about the potential coronavirus contamination, and when they’d realized workers were potentially at risk.
Chris Wadsworth, a general manager at the plant where Cotton worked, sent around an email expressing his ‘great sadness’ at news of her death.
He added: ‘As soon as we were notified of Tanisha’s illness, we shut down the facility and cleaned all areas in the office space and the warehouse this past weekend.
‘We continue to take every precaution to ensure that we are not exposed to the virus and ask you to continue to wash your hands and follow all of the CDC recommendations that we have posted throughout the facility.’
Cotton is the youngest person to die of coronavirus in Arkansas so far, with the next youngest Covid-19 victim aged 59. A total of 523 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the southern state, with seven – including Cotton – known to have died of Covid-19.