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North Texas Mother Who Lost Teen Daughter To Coronavirus Concerned About Young People's Behavior During Pandemic

LANCASTER, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - As younger populations of Texans contract COVID-19, mother Jakena Brown knows they're not immune to dying from it.

"This is the worst nightmare I'm living right now," she said.

Her 17-year-old daughter, Jameela Barber, is the youngest victim in Dallas County, and likely Texas, believed to have died from virus.

Web HS Jameela Barber
Jameela Dirrean-Emoni Barber (courtesy: Lancaster ISD)

The Lancaster High School student was rushed to a hospital in April after losing consciousness at home, but didn't survive long enough to be admitted.

"She had no underlying conditions. She just got Covid and passed," said her mother.

As she struggles to cope with her daughter's death, Brown says it's difficult to watch the virus spread among younger people.

Dallas County reports an increasing proportion of COVID-19 infections being diagnosed in young adults between 18 to 39 years old. In June, they accounted for more than half of all cases.

"It enrages me to know people are still out there partying, not wearing a mask, still contracting this virus," said Brown.

The number of Dallas County residents under the age of 18 testing positive has grown each month, too, from 682 cases in May to 1,047 in June. They currently account for about 9% of cases.

"We've seen it more now in daycare settings. We've had several daycare clusters in both the staff and the kids," said Dallas County Health Director Dr. Phil Huang.

While the virus far deadlier in older populations, children have had serious cases, too.

"We've seen that there can be severe illness in persons of all ages."

Jameela's family saw the whole range of outcomes.

Her mother tested positive with no symptoms..

Her father was hospitalized, but survived.

"He was fighting for his life for almost two weeks," said Brown.

Jameela's 5-year-old sister was set to start kindergarten this year.

While many parents struggle with whether to send their kids to school, Jakena's mind is made up.

"Oh, it's easy. She's not going to school," she said.

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