Grieving families, doctors worry about unvaccinated for holiday weekend

ATLANTA — Multiple big events are happening across the metro this Labor Day weekend as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to surge.

College football events, “Dragon-Con,” and “Atlanta Black Pride Weekend” are some of the bigger events happening in Atlanta. Doctors worry large gatherings for the holiday could lead to an even bigger surge in cases within two weeks.

Joslyn McQueary, a 32-year-old Atlanta mother, is one of the most recent Georgians to lose their life to the virus. She died Monday, according to her family, after a 20-day battle with COVID-19 at an area hospital.

“It’s just tragic,” said Sonia Crockett, her mother. “I can’t even understand how it could just take her out in 20 days like that.”

The mother of four kept putting off getting vaccinated until it was too late, per her family.

“Do it for yourself first, but also do it for your loved ones to get vaccinated,” said Marcelle Dean-Ellis, her aunt, who is helping to raise money for the funeral. “These four girls don’t have a mother. That right there is going to be with them forever.”

Newnan Police Officer Frankie Gutierrez also recently became one of the more than 20,000 Georgians to die from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. His family is raising money to help the family he leaves behind.

Doctors are worried mostly about unvaccinated people getting together this Labor Day weekend.

“We’re already in a precarious situation,” said Dr. Chirag Patel with Wellstar Health System. “We’ve plateaued at a very high rate of cases. Going into this Labor Day weekend, if we come out on other side with an increased surge, it’s going to be even more dangerous.”

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“Atlanta Black Pride Weekend” will go on, and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said it was designed with safety as a priority.

“It’s the reason we’re having this event outside,” she said. “We’re doing everything that we can to give people some sense of normalcy, but to make sure that people are still protected as best as they can be.”

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