A death this week of one of Vermont’s youngest victims of COVID-19 has that man’s friends pleading with folks in their teens through forties especially to keep treating the disease super-seriously.
“He was kind and cared about so many people,” said Chris Morgan, who viewed her friend, Anthony Audy, as a family member. “And now he’s gone because of this disease. If it wasn’t for this disease, he’d still be here.”
Audy died Tuesday, loved ones told NECN, after a hospitalization for COVID-19.
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In an interview Wednesday, Morgan said Audy was a constant in her life—always there with supportive and fun texts or phone calls throughout the day, every day. Without those, she said she feels “really unmoored.”
Friends of the tattoo artist and comic book mega-fan described him as having a huge heart for anyone needing help, including rescue animals. They said the cruelest part of their loss is that Anthony had booked his vaccine appointment shortly before getting his diagnosis.
“He had a lot of love for people,” recalled Jim DuVal, a close friend and former coworker of Audy’s at Yankee Tattoo in Burlington. “He really was just lovely.”
Audy was in his early 40s, Morgan said, making him among Vermont’s youngest victims of the virus.
According to data published Wednesday by the Vermont Department of Health, fewer than 10 people in their 30s and 40s have died from COVID-19 in the state. The majority of the 227 deaths reported to date here have been in the 80+ or 70+ age categories, data shows.
Additionally, state figures show people in their 20s are now the leading group for new COVID-19 infections in Vermont.
“Wanting the pandemic to be over and it actually being over are not the same thing,” Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine cautioned Tuesday.
Levine has been begging Vermonters, especially young ones, to stay vigilant and to take the virus seriously. He said he wants to see the spread of the virus slow way down, while vaccination rates climb.
“If we can keep our prevention game strong, we keep our hope for the future alive,” Levine said.
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Audy’s loved ones are echoing that message, asking everyone to care about the community as much as he did. Vermonters can do so, DuVal and Morgan said, by keeping up the masking and hand washing, getting tested and staying home if you’re unwell, and waiting just a bit longer for big get-togethers.
“You may not believe in the coronavirus, but the coronavirus sure believes in you,” DuVal warned.
“It’s hard,” Morgan added, referring to the long wait to return to normal. “But we have to do it because [the pandemic] is not over yet.”