‘This is not a joke’: COVID victim’s twin sister urges others to continue taking the virus seriously

ORLANDO, Fla. — The family and friends of an Orlando woman who died of COVID-19 want to encourage others to remain vigilant against the virus.

Sherry Knowles tested positive at the end of October and died of COVID-19 just last week.

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Sherry’s twin sister Shelly says the typically fun, vibrant 62-year-old sounded scared on the phone when she told Shelly she’d been admitted to the hospital.

“Because she has asthma...So she got pneumonia, but they thought that they were handling that and she was going to come home,” Shelly recalls.

So Shelly was going to go live with her sister while she recovered.

“...and I could help her because she’s helped me through some rough times,” Shelly says. “It was my turn...and I told her, I would take care of everything.”

However, Shelly wouldn’t get that opportunity as Sherry took a turn for the worse and died in the hospital.

Sherry’s friends gathered at her home Wednesday to support Shelly.

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Mary Beth Bauer, a friend to Sherry of over 30 years, says she was crushed by her death.

“She was the constant in my life,” Bauer says. “So many people will not get to know her now, or learn from her.”

Sherry’s death comes as coronavirus cases in Florida are starting to march up again.

Every Central Florida county, except for Sumter, has been trending upward since last month...Most significantly in Osceola County when the numbers are adjusted for population.

It should be noted that more people are getting tested, but that doesn’t account for the entire spike in cases.

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Meanwhile, hospitalizations statewide are up nearly 60 percent since last month.

Shelly says she’s sharing her sister’s story so people understand, “It’s real. This is killing people. This is not a joke. I don’t know when it’s going to be over, or ever, or if, but it’s not a joke.”