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23-Year-Old Livingstone Student Dies After Months-Long COVID Battle

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A 23-year-old student from Livingstone College died on Thursday after battling coronavirus for several months.

Jamesha Waddell was a senior at the historically black Christian college in North Carolina. Isolating at home after leaving campus on September 19, Waddell’s condition unfortunately worsened. She was taken to the hospital but nevertheless died due to complications of the virus.

On Friday, students and staff members at Livingstone gathered to remember Waddell. Student Body President Carlee Patterson recalled how she was “the life of the school,” remarking that “her body may not be here, but her spirit and her soul still is.”

President Jimmy R. Jenkins expressed his grief and reminded students leaving for winter break to “remain vigilant in mitigating the spread of this virus.”

Anthony J. Davis, Livingstone’s senior vice president and chief operating officer who is leading the school’s COVID-19 response said that Waddell is one of fewer than 20 positive cases the school has identified. There were just two active cases associated with the school on Friday.

Student Deaths Elsewhere

Waddell is not the first college student reported to have died of COVID-19.

Last month, college freshman Michael Lang from the University of Dayton, Ohio, died after becoming infected with the virus. Another 19-year-old Appalachian State University sophomore, Chad Dorrill, died of COVID-19 complications in September. 

This summer, Pennsylvania State University student Juan Garcia died of respiratory failure due to COVID-19. According to the school, Garcia was the first known Penn State student to pass away as a result of coronavirus infection.

Since the start of the pandemic, at least 130,000 students across 1,600 US colleges and universities have been infected with the virus, according to a tally by The New York Times. Most cases were recorded since students returned to campus this fall. 

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