Hartford marks anniversary of first COVID-19-related death


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Thursday marks one year since COVID-19 claimed the first life in Connecticut’s capital city. Now, the victim’s family is speaking out for the first time with an emotional plea.

As the daffodils start to bloom, it marks another milestone but one not nearly as bright.

“Wasn’t able to mourn. This is really bad,” said Louis Whalen, Hartford, victim’s son.

Lorraine Whalen was a 93-year-old grandmother and mom of 10. She was also the first life lost as the pandemic swept across the region.

“We did not have any closure. No grieving. No closure for each other. No relatives could come and see her,” said Whalen.

Thursday marked one year since her death. Since then, more than 280 Hartford residents have died.

“As a community, we will continue to find ways, as we move past this, move past this pandemic, to remember, and to honor, and to celebrate the lives of all that we have lost,” said Luke Bronin, Hartford Mayor.

Ms. Whalen had deep Catholic roots. Archbishop Leonard Blair and other faith leaders joined Mayor Luke Bronin to mark the occasion.

“We affirm that each and every person matters,” said Blair.

As they prayed for lives cut short, the family made a plea to people everywhere.

“Please, everybody. Fight back. Get your vaccine and take care of your loved ones,” said Whalen.

On Saturday city officials will put hundreds of candles in the pond at Bushnell park to commemorate lives lost.

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