KEY POINTS

  • Belle Glade mayor Steve Wilson and his wife, Lisa Wilson, lost 6 family members to COVID-19 in three weeks
  • Lisa claimed some of them were influenced by false reports on social media or were convinced the vaccine was unsafe
  • Around 10 family members have since received their vaccine doses following the deaths

A Palm Beach County, Florida mayor and his wife allegedly lost six family members to COVID-19 in less than a month.

Belle Glade mayor Steve Wilson and his wife, Lisa Wilson, went door to door for months trying to educate people about the coronavirus vaccine, WPTV NewsChannel 5 reported.

However, they were ignored by some members of their own family — six of whom had died of COVID-19 complications in the last three weeks, according to The Palm Beach Post.

"I was in their ears almost every day. 'You’ve just got to do this,'" Lisa said Tuesday as the county commission was getting a regular update on the current state of the pandemic.

"I’m beating myself up. Should I have pushed harder?" the longtime aide to Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay added.

The first death was Lisa's 48-year-old uncle, Tyrone Moreland, who died in late August.

Lisa's 89-year-old grandmother, Lillie Mae Dukes Moreland, was then hospitalized after the family gathered for her uncle's funeral. She died a day later.

Three of Lisa's cousins, including 48-year-old Shatara Dukes and 53-year-old Lisa Wiggins, soon lost their lives to COVID-19 as well.

The most recent family member to succumb to the coronavirus was 44-year-old Trentarian Moreland, who died Sunday. He spent years as assistant football coach at various Palm Beach County high schools.

"It's just been really bad for my family. We're really, really struggling," Lisa was quoted as saying by WPTV NewsChannel 5.

"I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it. I don't have (any) words for it. I don't know," she added.

Lisa suspected her uncle and Dukes, who shared the same birthday, caught the virus at a food pantry they both worked at. There did not appear to be a link between the others, she noted.

The family members who recently visited Lisa's grandmother were tested, but all the results came back negative. The elderly woman, however, was known for inviting neighbors onto her porch and into her house to chat.

"We just don't know," Lisa, who still questions why her family members refused to get vaccinated, said.

"In my grandmother’s case, I think some of her children advised her not to do it... They said she was too old, that it wasn’t safe, that she never left the house, anyway," she explained.

Additionally, her grandmother considered it a bad omen when her 93-year-old brother was hospitalized with COVID-19 after he was vaccinated.

"I think that secured it... that was a big, big part that was weighing on her," Lisa said. She suspected her grand-uncle was infected with the virus when he got his vaccine jab.

The others, meanwhile, had been influenced by false reports on social media, or from people who convinced them that the vaccine was developed too quickly and was not safe, Lisa alleged.

"I think a lot of them were afraid to take it," she said.

Lisa’s family has allegedly started to listen to her message in the aftermath of the deaths. Around 10 members received their vaccine recently, Lisa noted.

The spread of COVID-19 in Florida has slowed down over the last few weeks after the delta variant made August the deadliest month since the pandemic began with 5,721 reported deaths, according to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Alina Alonso, director of Palm Beach County's state-run health department, expects the lull to be temporary as she believes there will be a rise in cases after holiday gatherings just like last year. She and others continue to preach that widespread vaccination is the only way to stop COVID-19 from further spreading.

Around 63.9% of the county's residents age 12 and above have been fully vaccinated, while 74.4% have received at least one shot, according to the CDC.

A total of 3,464,113 COVID-19 cases and 49,257 deaths have been reported in Florida as of Wednesday, data provided by The New York Times showed.

corona-6335209_1920 Representation. Lisa Wilson claimed around 10 of her family members received their vaccines following the COVID-19 deaths of six of their relatives. Photo: Pixabay