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Mother-of-four and ballroom dancer died of coronavirus

"Hudson Jaynes" (2020-04-17)

A Michigan mother-of-four and prominent figure in Detroit's vibrant ballroom scene died of coronavirus before she could say goodbye to loved ones.

When symptoms of the coronavirus became too much for Laneeka Barksdale, 47, to bear, she tried to drive herself to the hospital over fears she would infect her loved ones.

Laneeka initially believed she was suffering a common cold when she began feeling sick in early March, but a mild cough turned into a fever that spiked at 102 degrees. Then it stole her breath.

‘She didn't even want my other sister to drive her to the hospital,' her brother Omari Barksdale recalled.

‘She was in really bad shape and was barely able to breathe, but she didn't want anyone else exposed.'

Laneeka Barksdale (pictured), 카지노 of Detroit, Michigan, died of coronavirus on March 23 after believing her symptoms were a common cold  





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Laneeka was hospitalized March 14. She passed away nine days later without saying goodbye to her family.

Detroit is emerging as a national hot spot of coronavirus cases. While the city had made some strides toward recovering since the Great Recession and filing for municipal bankruptcy in 2013, it was still struggling with chronic poverty when the coronavirus hit.

In Detroit, there have been at least 3,900 confirmed cases and 130 deaths. Michigan has amassed 14,225 - up 1,481 as of Saturday - and a death toll of 540.  

The national count has grown to 3 infected residents and 8,503 have been killed.

Laneeka Barksdale (left and right), 47, was a well-known figure in Detroit's ballroom dance scene and was well known by the community 

Hundreds of people have reached out to the family to offer condolences and to share memories of Laneeka.

Described by family as a free spirit, videos of her spinning around and pulling people onto dance floors have been widely shared across social media.

Friends and family of Laneeka have also taken to social media to celebrate her kindness and the legacy she left behind in the community.

‘[Laneeka] always kept a smile on her face, even when she may not have been smiling on the inside,' one friend wrote on Facebook.

‘Every time she saw me, we embraced with a big sincere hug…I am blessed to have had the pleasure of knowing her...she will definitely be missed by all but never forgotten,' they added.

With long, flowing hair and a smile that could light up a room, some friends called Laneeka ‘the queen' of Detroit-style ballroom dancing, which is a soulful dance popular in the African-American community.

Laneeka knew every variation, from a basic two-step to more sophisticated moves that had her gliding elegantly across the floor with a contemporary twist on the tango and waltz.

Pictured: Omari Barksdale (left) and Laneeka Barksdale (right) together before she passed away 

Barksdale: 'She was that shining star in the room. She had an infectious laugh and made people feel great'

Barksdale said: ‘She was that shining star in the room. She had an infectious laugh and made people feel great.'

Laneeka, who for years worked at a casino, suffered from severe asthma and the family believes it may have increased the severity of the disease in her lungs.

For Barksdale, the worst part is that his sister died alone.

‘She was on a respirator and heavily sedated so for the last days we didn't even get to talk to her. Nobody could see her,' he said.

Laneeka's family has created a GoFundMe page to help meet the costs of a burial and to help take care of her youngest child, who is seven-years-old. Her three oldest children at 17, 25, and 26.

Barksdale revealed it's difficult to grieve his sister in isolation, as Michigan's Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered a state-wide shelter-in-place order last week.

‘We're going to have to continue care for her children, especially the 7-year-old, so we want to prepare and get a cushion for her,' he said.

‘It's hard. It's really hard grieving in isolation.

The family wants Laneeka to be remembered as more than someone who died of COVID-19 complications.

In an impassioned message posted on Facebook hours after her death, Barksdale made a plea for people to take precautions.

‘She would want everybody to take this seriously," Barksdale said with tears in his eyes.

‘This allows us to tell her story and turn her death into a message to people to hopefully help, as they say, flatten the curve.'

Although New York is the epicenter of America's coronavirus outbreak, public health experts fear similar conditions may befall other states - including Michigan.

Deaths in Michigan have now leapfrogged other states, giving it the third highest death rate in the country in the space of a few days.

The proportion of tests coming back positive in states like Indiana, Illinois and Connecticut are now also ringing alarm bells for health officials while Louisiana is seeing a positive test rate of 26 percent.

'We do have two states that have 35 percent positives and that's New York and New Jersey. So that confirms very clearly that that's a very clear and an important hot zone,' Dr Birx said on Thursday during a White House briefing.

'Michigan, Connecticut, Indiana, Georgia, Illinois - that should tell you where the next hot sports are coming - are at 15 percent test positive.

'Then Colorado, D.C., Rhode Island and Massachusetts are at 13 percent.'

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