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30-Year-Old Teacher Dies of Coronavirus After Her Symptoms Were Dismissed as a Panic Attack

Family and friends are mourning the loss of Rana Zoe Mungin, a 30-year-old teacher in Brooklyn who died Monday of COVID-19 after struggling to get treatment.

Mungin, a social studies teacher at Ascend Academy, had contracted the virus in mid-March. She had two preexisiting conditions — asthma and hypertension — that put her at high risk of developing a severe case of the virus, and her sister Mia, a registered nurse, fought for her to get the best treatment possible.

But despite her fever and shortness of breath, Rana Zoe was turned away from emergency rooms twice, and one paramedic believed she was just having a “panic attack,” Mia told PIX11.

“He insinuated she was having a panic attack. She kept saying ‘I can’t breathe,’ ” Mia said

Rana Zoe was finally admitted to Brookdale Hospital on March 20, five days after her first attempt to get treated or tested for COVID-19. At that point, she was struggling to breathe and doctors immediately intubated and put her on a ventilator.

Mia and her family were told that Rana Zoe could be a good candidate for remdesivir, one of several drugs under clinical trials as a possible COVID-19 treatment, but they then learned she wasn’t eligible. Mia then mounted a campaign to get Rana Zoe included in the trial, which eventually reached New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who appealed to the Food and Drug Administration.

Rana Zoe was not added to the trial, but she was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, where she started to show some improvements. On April 18, Rana Zoe woke up and was able to open her eyes, and doctors tried to help her breathe without the ventilator.

But on April 27, after over a month on a ventilator, Rana Zoe died.

“It is with heavy heart that I have to inform you all that my sister Rana Zoe … has passed away today at 12:25pm due to COVID-19 complication,” Mia posted on Twitter. “She fought a long fight but her body was too weak.”

Rana Zoe is one of 28 New York City teachers who have died from COVID-19 since March, PIX11 reported.

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