Desmond Jarvis Brandon died of COVID-19, alone in an isolation ward of an Edmonton hospital.
He was 36.
He developed a cough early this month. Fewer than two weeks later, on November 13, Brandon would succumb to the illness on the University of Alberta Hospital.
He is amongst seven Albertans below the age of 40 to die of COVID-19 because the loss of life toll in Alberta reached 500.
“I hope this makes it more real for people,” mentioned Carl Lovestrom, Brandon’s pal.
Brandon had diabetes however was in any other case wholesome, Lovestrom mentioned.
“Desmond was a real person, he was 36-years-old. He did not have to die.”
Lovestrom mentioned Brandon’s loss of life ought to function a wake-up name, a reminder of the lethal penalties of the virus, even amongst those that are younger, wholesome and following health tips.
Lovestrom mentioned discussions across the low mortality charges of COVID-19 neglect the devastating value of the virus. The human toll of the pandemic is usually misplaced within the numbers, he mentioned.
“These people think that they know better. It’s beyond frustrating. It really makes me angry when I stop to think about it.
“I simply suppose that people discuss these low proportion level fatality charges and people form of issues, and I believe that what they’re forgetting when they see these numbers, these numbers characterize actual people. Those numbers characterize people like Desmond.”
Lovestrom said Desmond had dutifully followed COVID-19 restrictions and health protocols. He always wore a mask when out in public, cut down on his social interactions and practised physical distancing.
When he got sick, he documented his illness on social media. As he developed symptoms and tested positive, even after he was admitted to hospital, he continued to post updates to his friends on Facebook.
He posted photographs of his isolation room and reported on the quality of the hospital food and described his symptoms in detail.
He needed people to appreciate, you already know, that is actual, that is occurring proper now, and we have the facility to do one thing about it.– Carl Lovestrom
“He was huge into masks and he was huge into social distancing and all of the other restrictions that we put in place to guard ourselves from COVID-19,” Lovestrom said.
“Part of the rationale that he was posting a lot was as a result of he needed people to appreciate, you already know, that is actual, that is occurring proper now, and we have the facility to do one thing about it.”
The men met in 2009 while working together at a nightclub in downtown Edmonton. Lovestrom was a server. Brandon was a barback.
They were working together the night Lovestrom met his wife, and would often hang out after their shifts. They remained in touch over the years.
Lovestrom said Brandon was generous, strong and outspoken with a wry sense of humour.
He was always full of life, laughing and cracking jokes.
“He was the man who, you would be at a celebration and he’d say one thing snarky, some snarky little touch upon the other aspect of the room, and that aspect of the room would simply erupt in laughter and also you’d simply be sitting there on the other aspect questioning what you’d missed.”
‘This cruel pandemic’
Brandon’s wake was held on Sunday near his family home in Waywayseecappo First Nation, in Manitoba.
A small number of family and friends gathered for a traditional ceremony, a gathering kept small and socially distanced by pandemic restrictions.
His mother, Priscilla Brandon, described her late son as a “candy angel.” She said she wanted to visit her son when he fell ill but he advised her against it.
“My Dez adopted the foundations and rules of this merciless pandemic,” she said.
She said her son was laid to rest in a family ceremony marked by traditional singing and blessings from an elder.
“As you enter the spirit world, my Dez, keep in mind that I really like you so, a lot,” she wrote in a tribute on Facebook.
“You took a part of me with you.”
Family was deeply important to Brandon, Lovestrom said.
“I’ve been lucky sufficient to speak to his household rather a lot just lately, and I discovered that even from two provinces away from his household, he was the glue that was holding them collectively.
“And what I didn’t fully appreciate at the time when I knew him is he was making us here in Edmonton all his family.”
Lovestrom mentioned Brandon’s loss of life has made him reassess the dangers he is prepared to take. He helps the new restrictions in Alberta, and believes Brandon would have too.
Lovestrom solely needs the province would have clamped down sooner.
“Doing the bare legal minimum might not be enough,” he mentioned. “Especially when we have people who still refuse to do anything, it might be up to the responsible ones of us to do more.
“Obviously what we have going proper now isn’t working. It’s failing us and it failed him.”