RuPaul’s Drag Race star Shea Couleé is encouraging fans to take precautionary measures after a cousin died from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“I just learned that a cousin of mine died today from Coronavirus,” the drag queen, 31, shared on Twitter on Tuesday. “No one knew she had it, and I’m growing concerned for my other family members in her household.”
Couleé, né Jaren Kyei Merrell, went on to urge followers to protect themselves amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, writing, “This is serious. Please stay safe everyone.”
Following the tweet, Couleé received an outpour of love and support from members of the RuPaul’s Drag Race community.
“So sorry ??? sending love,” Dusty Ray Bottoms tweeted back.
“Oh I’m so sorry,” Darienne Lake commented. “Sending you love.”
Earlier this week, singer Bebe Rexha shared that an acquaintance of hers had died from the rapidly spreading virus and urged her fans to seriously adhere to protocols established by health and government officials.
“This is NOT A JOKE. A friend of a friend just died of corona at the age of 45,” Rexha, 30, revealed on Monday. “STAY INSIDE YOUR F— HOUSE AND DO YOUR CIVIC DUTY. PLEASE.”
Famous figures who have recently tested positive for the coronavirus include Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Idris Elba and NBA star Kevin Durant.
The first cases of a mysterious respiratory illness — what is now known as COVID-19, a form of coronavirus — began in Wuhan, China in late December. Since then, the virus has spread worldwide, leading the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency, the first since the zika epidemic in 2016.
At first, this coronavirus was contained to China, but Wuhan is a major transportation hub with hundreds of flights leaving and landing from the city of 11 million each day. Soon, as people flew from the area to different countries, the coronavirus reached more countries, including the United States.
The first U.S. case was found in Everett, Washington, just outside of Seattle, in a man who had recently returned from Wuhan. The number of cases grew slowly from there and the virus began to spread more rapidly in communities across the U.S.
There have been at least 4,482 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 86 deaths in the nation as of Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday evening, West Virginia announced its first confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus, becoming the last state to have a positive test for coronavirus. As of Tuesday, all 50 U.S. states have at least one confirmed case of the coronavirus within its borders.