Two sisters living in the Eastern Cape, aged 19 and 27, both tragically passed away from COVID-19 within six days of each other after their family went away on holiday during the festive period.
Bridgette and Samantha Stander, two sisters from Craddock near Port Elizabeth, who returned home to spend the December with their families both joined a growing list of young adults that have been succumbing to COVID-19 related illnesses as the “new strain” in South Africa continues to bring the country to its knees, with infections soaring, and cases now in excess of 1.1 million and deaths on the cusp of hitting the 30,000 mark.
And it would appear that the new strain is more deadly than the earlier iteration of COVID-19. The fact that these two young sisters were killed by COVID-19 in such swift fashion provides further anecdotal evidence that the mutated COVID-19 virus is both more aggressive and deadly.
“We write today [Saturday] with the very sad news that the Union community has lost a member of its class of 2019,” Union High School in Graaff Reinet, where Bridget matriculated, said in a statement posted on Facebook on Saturday, according to a TimesLIVE report. “Bridget, who commenced her studies towards a BCom degree at the University of Stellenbosch at the start of 2020, was spending the December holidays with her family in her hometown of Cradock when she took ill.”
After being hospitalised in Port Elizabeth, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia, Bridget passed away on 2 January.
“What makes the news of her passing even more heart-wrenching is that Bridget’s death follows only days after that of her older sister Samantha, 27, who passed away on December 27, also as a result of COVID-19 related health complications,” said the school.
The sisters’ surviving sibling, Ashleigh Stander, posted her own emotional message about the family’s tragic situation last week, while Bridget was still fighting for her life in hospital. “Our whole family is physically and emotionally shattered, with everything happening around us,” she wrote.
Aside from the Stander sisters being killed by COVID-19, the world has started to notice that the new novel strain is not only spreading more aggressively, but appears to be targeting young people under the age of 20.