Father-and-son doctors die from virus



A father and son who both dedicated their lives as doctors to helping their patients have died from coronavirus-related complications within a few weeks of one another.

Dr Jorge A Vallejo, 89, and his son, Dr Carlos Francisco Vallejo, 57, were transported to hospital on the same day in the US state of Florida with their families suspecting the younger physician contracted the deadly pandemic from one of his patients, the Miami Herald reported.

Carlos, who specialises in diagnosis, was working on the frontline caring for coronavirus patients where it is feared he may have been infected before passing it on to his father.

Both entered the hospital in late June with the elder Vallejo dying within six days. Carlos was in intensive care for 42 days before he succumbed to the global pandemic.

"We just lost basically both of our anchors of our whole entire family," Jessica Vallejo, who was Jorge's granddaughter and Carlos' niece, told the Herald.

Florida became one of the hardest hit states in the US during the destructive and sustained second wave of cases and deaths in recent months but this is beginning to improve.

The national daily new case rate has been falling for more than two weeks.

The US is still recording more than 50,000 cases a day, a huge figure, but that's down substantially from 70,000 at the peak around July 23-24.

The drop-off in cases is so far more pronounced than in April when the country headed into a long springtime plateau, which lulled many states into a false sense of security that paved the way for the spike that began mid-June.

Experts attribute the decline to policy and behaviour changes in the populous states behind the summer surge - namely California, Texas, Florida and Arizona.

Widespread adoption of masks, physical distancing and closing down bars all helped, while some scientists believe that increasing population immunity may have also played a role.

According to covid19-projections.com, up to 20 per cent of Florida may by now have been infected - and infection is thought to confer immunity to some extent.

"I believe the substantial epidemics in Arizona, Florida and Texas will leave enough immunity to assist in keeping COVID-19 controlled," Trevor Bedford, a scientist studying viruses at Fred Hutch wrote on Twitter.

"However, this level of immunity is not compatible with a full return to societal behaviour as existed before the pandemic," he added.

- With wires

Originally published as Father-and-son doctors die from virus