‘It’s real’: Friends stress seriousness of virus after 32-year-old woman dies

?It?s Real?: Friends emphasize seriousness of COVID-19 after it took woman?s life

CHARLOTTE — If you wonder if COVID-19 is real, listen to friends of a young Charlotte woman, who two weeks ago died from the virus.

Keyia Hawkins turned 32 on July 7, and Eboni Frazier called to wish her a happy birthday.

“And I asked her how she was doing, and she said that she had been feeling sick since Sunday,” Frazier said.

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Hawkins posted on social media Thursday she had COVID-19. Frazier got a text message from a friend two days later saying that Hawkins died.

“And I was just like confused,” Frazier said. “Like, ‘What do you mean she passed? I just talked to her.’”

Hawkins’ friend, Lindsee Ratliff-Owens, said the 32-year-old was full of energy and spirit.

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“I’m still in disbelief,” Ratliff-Owens said. “I still replay brunch in my head because there were no signs.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Hawkins’ friends went to the place where she got married.

They listened to a podcast Hawkins recorded in May.

“We live this life and we think we have time and we do not, you know?” Hawkins said.

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Two months later, Hawkins died from the virus.

“It’s real,” Ratliff-Owens said. “I lost one of the best people in my life, and it’s going to take me forever to get over this.”

“And just take it seriously,” Frazier said. “It can happen to any of us. Nobody is exempt. Nobody.”

There will be a vigil Wednesday night at Vance High School where they graduated.

Gaston County reports first outbreaks at 5 congregate living facilities