An Englewood, Illinois, mom of three and postal carrier died from the coronavirus a week after giving birth, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Unique Clay, 31, gave birth on April 30 and later died on May 5, making her the first postal carrier in the Chicago region to die of the virus. It is not known how she contracted the disease, however her job as an essential worker put her at a higher risk of coming into contact with the virus.
“The family is picking out caskets, and her birthday is one month from today,” Unique’s father, Alan Brown, told CBS Chicago on May 9.
As Black and brown populations make up the majority of the coronavirus cases, Clay’s death highlights the fears of millions of essential workers across the country who don’t want nothing to do with the heroic, sacrificial figure narrative, working for the greater good. Essential workers want to be paid their worth, given adequate medical coverage and afforded proper protections to avoid contracting the virus.
“When she went in labor, she told me, ‘Mom, I feel like I’m coming down with a cold,’” said Unique’s mother, Annette Clay.
Clay was tested for the virus while she was in labor at University of Chicago Medical Center and the test came back positive. Clay’s family wants to know why she was not advised to quarantine, and/or held longer in the hospital when the virus results in different outcomes based on the status of your immune system. Clay also suffered from asthma, according to a report by WLS.
“When she was in labor, she was running a fever, and they gave her the test for the COVID,” Brown said in a separate interview with FOX 6 Now. “When they did let her go home, they gave her ibuprofen, and we were told from watching the news that that feeds the virus itself. You’re supposed to give them Tylenol.”
Early on as the virus outbreak began, rumors spread regarding the usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen for treatment, and whether NSAIDS contributed to an adverse reaction. However an April report by the World Health Organization showed there is little evidence to suggest NSAIDS accelerate the harsh effects of the virus.
Days after Clay returned home she found herself out of breath and asked her oldest daughter to retrieve her inhaler. When the 11-year-old returned, Clay was dead.
Clay’s hospital released a statement expressing their condolences, but refrained from commenting further due to patient laws.
“The University of Chicago Medicine community extends the deepest sympathy to the family,” the University of Chicago Medical Center told CBS Chicago. “We cannot comment on individual cases due to patient privacy laws.”
Clay worked for the United States Postal Service for two years. At least 30 other letter carriers were COVID-19 positive at the time of Clay’s death, according to the National Association of Letter Carriers in an interview with the Sun-Times. This past weekend, some of Clay’s colleagues gathered during their lunch break to hold a small balloon celebration in honor of her memory.
Expressing our dearest condolences to Clay’s family during this difficult time.