He Woke His Mom To Tell Her He Couldn’t Get His Asthma Under Control, Hugged Her Then Died From COVID19

Although older people are at higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, the virus is killing young Americans in record numbers. Between March 1 and July 31,...
Cody and Bryant
Cody Lyster, left, and Bryant Boyer-Killion, right, both died of COVID-19 at age 21. Courtesy of Lea Ann Lyster and Sarah Boyer
  • Although older people are at higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, the virus is killing young Americans in record numbers.
  • Between March 1 and July 31, 12,000 more Americans between 25 and 44 years old died than would ordinarily be expected. About 40% of those deaths were directly due to COVID-19.
  • Two families whose 21-year-old sons died of COVID-19 describe how quickly and severely the young men got sick.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Anna Boyer-Killion was holding her son, Bryant, when he stopped breathing.

The 21-year-old woke his family at their home in Champaign, Illinois, in the middle of the night on December 19. He couldn’t get his asthma under control and asked to go to the hospital. But before they could leave, he went into cardiac arrest.

“He wrapped his arms around me and he died in my arms,” Boyer-Killion told Business Insider.

Boyer had been hospitalized for chronic asthma before, but the coronavirus exacerbated his condition. His mother started CPR after calling 911, and EMTs were able to get Bryant to the hospital. But he was pronounced dead there on December 21.

“He’s always been able to recover and this just was not the same,” Bryant’s aunt, Sarah Boyer, said.

bryant boyer
Bryant Boyer-Killion with his three siblings and niece. Courtesy of Sarah Boyer

Bryant was far from the only young American to die of COVID-19 in the last year.

A December study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found almost 40% of excess deaths among Americans between 25 to 44 years old from March to July were due to COVID-19. Almost 12,000 more people in that age group died during those five months than would be expected based on historical data. Of those, 4,535 deaths were directly caused by COVID-19.

In the last few months alone, six children in Northridge, California lost their 30-year-old mother to COVID-19. A 33-year-old Detroit mother died days after giving birth to a son she never got to hold. A 28-year-old father of two died after 84 days in the hospital. A husband lost his 34-year-old wife after she caught the coronavirus giving birth to their daughter in a hospital.

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