Beloved teacher dies of coronavirus after she was twice denied testing, family says

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(WPIX/CNN/WFLA) – An educator, a role model and an inspiration.

That’s how family members describe a 30-year-old New York teacher who died after a battle with COVID-19 on Monday.

Rana Zoe Mungin always excelled academically.

“She loved school, she loved empowering, she loved education,” said her sister Mia. “Zoe became valedictorian here, and a lot of times, we’d go into the school and see her plaque and name here.”

Mungin made good grades and graduated from Wellesley College.

“She was so proud to call herself a Wellesley grad. The idea that Hillary Clinton went there!” Mia recalled.

And she turned her niece, Lyniah, into an A-1 student, too.

“I have a 3.9 GPA right now, and I owe it all to her. She basically taught me how to write,” Lyniah said.

Lyniah is now getting a full scholarship at John Jay College and has law school aspirations.

Mia, a registered nurse, came home with a fever on March 9.

Pretty soon, her sister had a fever too and went back and forth to Brookdale Hospital with breathing trouble.

On both occasions, she was unable to get tested. The first time, she was sent home with medicine for her headache and asthma. The second time, they had run out of testing kits, her sister said.

The EMTs who took her to the hospital the second time, did not seem to understand her situation, Mia added.

“They’re insinuating she was having a panic attack,” Mia recalled.

By the time she was hospitalized at Brookdale, Rana needed a ventilator. Hydroxychloriquine didn’t work for her.

Senator Chuck Schumer, a fellow Brooklynite, wrote the Food and Drug Administration to get the teacher accepted for clinical trials and she was transferred to Mount Sinai on March 27.

“Up until last Wednesday, she was improving. She had woken up. I was able to FaceTime with her. And she looked well.”

But Mungin was fighting a sepsis infection. Once she was tranferred to a facility in New Jersey, things went south.

Mia last FaceTimed with her sister on Sunday afternoon, and apologized for bringing coronavirus into their home.

“I didn’t consciously bring into the house, but it was something I was exposed to. If I could, I would trade places with her. I told her I loved her, and that I needed her to keep fighting. But I know she’s tired and her body is worn.”

At 12:25 pm Monday, after 37 days in the hospital, Rana Zoe Mungin took her last breath.

“Everything that we worked for, I’m not here to share it with her. She’s supposed to be with us celebrating, a lot of good things are happening, I want to tell her but I can’t,” said her niece.

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