Rana Zoe Mungin Brooklyn teacher dies of coronavirus after being denied tests twice despite black educator imploring she had underlying health conditions.
Was one school teacher’s COVID-19 death aggravated by the fact she was black?
Rana Zoe Mungin, 30, died in hospital Monday – more than six weeks after she first fell ill with a fever and over a month after she was put on a ventilator.
The social studies teacher at Bushwick Ascend Middle School now become at least the 65th school worker and 28th teacher in New York City to be killed by the virus.
Rana’s sister announced Mungin’s death on Twitter on Monday.
‘It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you all that my sister, Rana Zoe, has passed away today at 12:25 p.m. due to COVID-19 complications,’ Mia Mungin posted.
‘She fought a long fight but her body was too weak.’
More than a month before she died, Rana Zoe Mungin reportedly tried multiple times to get treatment for what she feared were COVID-10 symptoms, and was turned away https://t.co/XQbrmFxnjd
— The Cut (@TheCut) April 28, 2020
Would black educator’s demands for test been dismissed had she been white privileged woman?
Mungin’s death comes after she was turned away from an emergency room twice before finally being hospitalized and tested for coronavirus.
Mungin is thought to have contracted the deadly virus after Mia, a registered nurse, returned to the home they shared with a fever on March 9 after working in a hospital.
Just days later, Mungin began showing symptoms for the virus.
Her condition worsened and her family called for an ambulance on at least one occasion after she struggled to breathe and took her to the ER twice.
But, despite being particularly vulnerable to coronavirus complications due to underlying health conditions including asthma and high blood pressure, medics dismissed her symptoms and refused to give her a coronavirus test.
It remained unclear why the educator who had a history of underlying health concerns and particularly after being in contact with her nurse sister was denied access. Which is to wonder about the degree of readiness or lack of to handle pandemics.
When your preexisting condition is the color of your skin: “Rana Zoe Mungin, as too many Black women before her, was not believed. Her pain was not taken into consideration. Her knowledge of her own body was not prioritized.” Beyond tragic. https://t.co/rBBQ5iTADp
— Ellen (@ellenbraaten) April 27, 2020
‘My goal is not to die today.’
Others in the interim wondered on social media whether the teacher’s race may have preempted her being taken more seriously.
Posted one author: ‘Across the United States, Black women like Mungin have long faced significant social, economic, and racial barriers to receiving healthcare. Wage disparities, lack of access to hospitals and doctors’ offices, and the chronic stress of racism and implicit biases from providers all contribute to worse healthcare outcomes for Black women versus their white peers.’
On one occasion, emergency responders even dismissed her complaints she was struggling to breathe, ‘insinuating she was having a panic attack, saying that her lungs were clear,’ Mia told PIX 11.
Asked about her about her long-term dreams and goals in a bid to calm Rana down during one intervention with EMT services, Rana replied through labored breath, ‘My goal is not to die today.’
Determined to still get help, Mungin found her own way to the emergency room at Brookdale Hospital. There, she was placed in an area with people who had tested positive for COVID-19 but was not tested herself. Doctors said her lungs sounded clear. Terrified she would contract the virus if she hadn’t already, she went home.
It wasn’t until 24 hours later, on March 20 that the 30-year-old was finally admitted to Brookdale Hospital and put on a ventilator.
She was then given the experimental malaria drug hydroxychloroquine touted by President Trump.
When that didn’t work, Mia lobbied for her sister to take part in clinical trials and Senator Chuck Schumer waded into the matter, writing a letter to the Food and Drug Administration for her to be accepted.
The teacher was then moved to Mount Sinai hospital in Manhattan on March 27, where she started showing signs of improvement.
One month after going on the ventilator she woke up and she was moved to a New Jersey hospital for patients who have come off ventilators.
Just days later she died from COVID-19 complications.
Rana Zoe Mungin, a 30yr old teacher, died of #COVIDー19 💔She called 911 & was dismissed, later went to the ER & did not get care. Racial bias in America’s healthcare system is compounded by scarcity of tests can be lethal for black people #StayHome if you can #WhereAreTheTests https://t.co/WSBYVl6dps
— WendySpirit (@WendyDay5013) April 29, 2020
Black folk disproportionately affected by coronavirus
Rana’s sister told Pix 11 she wished she could swap places with her.
‘I apologized that she was there,’ Mia said she told her sister the day before she died.
‘I didn’t consciously bring [coronavirus] into the house, but it’s something I was exposed to. If I could trade places with her, I would.’
Ascend Charter Schools issued a statement mourning the loss of the ‘beloved teacher’ and paid tribute to her as a ‘one-of-a-kind educator’.
‘Our entire Ascend community mourns the passing of Ascend teacher Rana Zoe Mungin, who died yesterday after a difficult struggle with COVID-19. We extend our deepest sympathy to all of Zoe’s family and loved ones,’ the statement released Tuesday read in part.
‘Zoe was a one-of-a-kind educator. She had a transformational impact on her students and colleagues at Bushwick Ascend Middle School.
On March 27, five members of Congress, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Ayanna Pressley, both from Massachusetts, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, calling on them to monitor and address racial disparities in the nation’s response to the outbreak.
The letter addresses the disproportionate incidence of black deaths in the US – who typically make up the poorest segment of society, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mungin’s tragic death comes as New York continues to be the hardest-hit of all US states amid the pandemic.
As of Tuesday night, New York City has 11,820 deaths and 157,713 infections.
Across the state, there have been 23,144 deaths and 301,450 confirmed cases of the deadly virus.