Nigerian-born student dies of COVID-19 — and she was only 20

Nigerian-born student dies of COVID-19 — and she was only 20
February 12
07:45 2021

Man proposes God disposes. Such is the case of Helen Otobong Etuk of Nigerian descent, who planned to become a paediatrician but had her life snuffed out by the cold hands of death at the tender age of 20.

According to New York Times, Etuk died from COVID-19 complications on January 12 at a hospital in Arlington, Texas, where her family lives.

The newspaper quoted Etuk’s mother, a health care consultant, as saying the deceased contracted the virus while attending classes at the University of North Texas.

Etuk was a senior in college and her love for children spurred her dream of becoming a paediatrician.


Raised by a single mother, the deceased reportedly planned that once she became a doctor, she would take care of children even if their mothers couldn’t afford to pay.

Etuk, said to have been attending in-person classes, developed a bad cough which turned out to be a symptom of the disease despite “always wearing a mask and tried to maintain social distance from other people”.

Her mother reportedly said Etuk had lupus, a chronic disease of the immune system, and had been in some discomfort from pain in her joints. She was reportedly hospitalised for almost three months before she died.


“She blamed herself, saying she made a mistake in going back to school. She said that sometimes students pull their masks down, so they cover their mouths but not their noses,” Ellen Clinton was quoted as saying.

Clinton said she knew her daughter was smart because of her love for reading.

“She never asked for dolls. She always asked for books. She was most fond of novels. She started devouring all of Harry Potter when she was eight. The Twilight series was also a favorite,” she reportedly said.

“When I would go to Walmart, she would say, ‘Can I buy books?’” her mother said. “That’s when I knew she was smart.


“She would have done so much.”


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