coronavirus US deathscoronavirus US deaths

Medical staff move bodies from the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center to a refrigerated truck on April 2, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York.

Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

  • Kristin Urquiza invited Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to attend her father’s funeral after passed away from coronavirus. 
  • The state has become a coronavirus hotspot with a growing death rate that has more than doubled over the past month, the Los Angeles Times reported. 
  • She’s now speaking out about what she described as a failed handling of the pandemic that is leading to needless death.
  • Urquiza said Ducey has “blood on his hands.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Kristin Urquiza’s father Mark Urquiza died from COVID-19 on June 30 in Arizona, and she is placing some of the blame on Gov. Doug Ducey and his decision to reopen the state.

“I think that’s part of the tragedy and the pain of this situation for individual families is that my dad was, from the outside, perfectly healthy a month ago. And I buried him yesterday,” she said on July 9, the day after his funeral. “It’s hard to swallow.”

The 39-year-old recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy told Insider she invited the governor to attend her father’s funeral, which was held on July 8. The governor’s office did not respond.

Urquiza said she knew his office received it because she sent the invitation by FedEx and asked for a signature.

“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Mark Anthony Urquiza. We know nothing can fully alleviate the pain associated with his loss, and every loss from this virus is tragic,” Patrick Ptak, the governor’s communications director told Business Insider in an email.  

—Nicole Grigg (@NicoleSGrigg) July 9, 2020

Kristin Urquiza, an only child, said both her father and mother contracted the virus, but only her father experienced severe complications that led to his death. The three weeks between when her father first felt symptoms on June 11 to his death at the end of June, she said, were a “living nightmare.”

“It’s very hard to get information,” she said because doctors and nurses are swamped taking care of patients. “And so to live with one of the most important people in your life hanging in the balance and not being able to get information is quite literally the most agonizing pain I have ever felt in my life. And I would not wish it upon my worst enemy.” 

—Nicole Grigg (@NicoleSGrigg) July 9, 2020

Arizona is now an epicenter for the coronavirus outbreak. In the past two weeks, the state’s cases doubled from 50,000 to over 100,000 cases. More than 2,000 people have died from coronavirus complications in Arizona as of July 9. 

Kristin said she’s not exactly sure how her father caught the virus, but he began socializing with friends after the stay-at-home order was lifted on May 15. 

“And I can remember, you know, in late May, early June, my dad sharing with me what he was thinking about doing,” she recalled. “And I was like, ‘Dad, I don’t, I’m not sure if that’s the right decision.’ And my dad was like, ‘Well, you know, the Trump administration says it’s okay. The Ducey administration says it’s okay. Like, you know, I’m watching this on the news that we should go out,'” she said.

Kristin says she is speaking out to demand accountability in the hopes that one else is placed in the same position her family was put in.

“I don’t blame my dad,” she said. “People do catch coronavirus in a lot of different ways, and this is all about reducing risk. And it’s about limiting exposure and limiting transmission. Simple measures such as wearing masks have been proven to help reduce transmission.”

Instead, Kristin expressed frustration with officials “changing directions every single day, which is creating chaos in the public at a time whenever our country is very divided.”

—Kristin Urquiza (@kdurquiza) June 29, 2020

Ducey instated a stay-at-home order that began on April 1 and was fully lifted on May 15. On June 29, Ducey again ordered certain businesses, such as bars and gyms, to suspend operations for another 30 days, so the state can take control of its surging coronavirus cases. On July 9, he announced an executive order that would require in-door restaurants to operate at less than half capacity.

“These actions will help protect the health and safety or restaurant patrons and staff and further reduce the risk of transmission,” the governor wrote in a tweet. 

—Doug Ducey (@dougducey) July 9, 2020

“This is a public health crisis that needs to be taken with the utmost seriousness,” Urquiza said. “And we are being failed by our elected officials in the Senate, in the governor’s mansion, and in the White House, and it’s costing people’s lives. And so, yeah, I had to write that letter because it cost me my father’s life, and I will not allow for my father to die in vain.”

Kristin said that Gov. Ducey has “blood on his hands” of those who died from this virus for what she said was a result of his poor handling of the outbreak.

“I’ve been processing this through working to bring justice for my father, more awareness for other people to not go through this,” she said. “But I feel like once I’m off the phone, it’s gonna take me my entire life to heal from this. And I’m not sure I ever will.”

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