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COVID-19 victim’s friends plead with everyone to take virus seriously

Another day, another COVID-19 record – this time in deaths as the state of Florida recorded 173 in just 24 hours.

That’s another 173 families dealing with loss, the highest ever single-day increase.

One friend screamed in anger that people keep dying from a virus he believes we can beat. Another took the news like it was no surprise because he sees so many people living like it will never happen to them.

Both hoped AJ Mullins’ death would inspire people to take COVID-19 more seriously.

It’s been almost a month, and Willie Miller still isn’t over the loss of his best friend and band member.

“This coming Saturday we are finally going to lay him to rest,” Miller said.

COVID-19 hit the band hard. The same day that Mullins died, Miller took to Facebook – while in the hospital fighting the virus – to warn us.

“This whole thing about being a hoax, it is a lie. It is not a hoax,” he said.

Today, Miller lives his worst fear – that his message didn’t get through. He’s angry and heartbroken over the news that Florida announced a record 173 people had died due to COVID-19.

“That just broke my heart because I just know that all the stuff that’s happening is unnecessary. It did not have to be this way. It did not have to be this way. It didn’t.”

Miller is afraid the only way enough people will take the virus seriously is to suffer like he is.

“It’s going to take someone close to them. You know, mom, dad, husband, wife, you know, just that’s what it’s gonna take.”

Mullins’ roommate Bill Little agrees.

“I had corona, I survived it. It’s nothing to mess with, believe me. I mean, I’m still having lingering effects from it. People need to take it serious because it is serious. I mean it’s dead serious,” Little said.

The band plans to host a benefit concert at Coconut Falls Tiki Bar and Grill in Fort Myers for Mullins’ sons in November – if the virus is finally under control.

Since the pandemic hit Florida, 5,518 residents have died from COVID-19 complications. That’s enough people to fill two-thirds of the seats of Hertz Arena.

Nearly 9% of all those deaths were in Southwest Florida, though our area only accounts for about 6.5% of the state’s population.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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