When 66-year-old Springfield, Ill., resident Candace “Candy” Ayers died earlier this month, her family wasn’t shy about who they believe is responsible for her death when writing her obituary.
“She was preceded in death by more than 4,531,799 others infected with [COVID-19],” the obituary read. “She was vaccinated but was infected by others who chose not to be. The cost was her life.”
Candace passed away at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield – where she once served as a receptionist – on Sept. 3, more than a month after she was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 28. She had been fully vaccinated, along with her husband Terry Ayres, with the Moderna vaccine since the spring.
Her son, 36-year-old Marc Ayres, who serves as the Illinois director of The Humane Society of the United States, told the State Journal Register the family believes she was infected during a driving trip to Mississippi in mid-July.
Marc said he and his sister now feel guilty that they encouraged their mother, a native of Mobile, Ala., to go on the trip. She went to visit a friend whose husband had recently died of COVID-19.
Both the friend and her husband were supporters of President Donald Trump and remained unvaccinated, Marc said. However, her doctor said the trip should be safe since his parents were vaccinated.
Candace and Terry only visited for four days, but they did go to public spaces where few people wore masks. Mississippi had one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the nation over the summer. On the way home, Candace starting feeling fatigued.
When she tested positive for COVID-19, his normally outgoing mother became depressed and quiet, said Marc.
“She was almost in a state of disbelief,” he said.
While Terry, a retired Illinois Environmental Protection Agency engineer who was married to Candace for 43 years, only got mild COVID-19 symptoms, Candace’s fatigue and nausea led her to the emergency room. Though initially sent home, she was ended up being hospitalized for a month