One year later: Doctors and their families discuss lasting effect of COVID-19

HOUSTON – Thursday marked one year since the World Health Organization first called the new coronavirus a pandemic.

Laura Lesher and her husband know just how devastating the virus can be. Her father, Frank Granados Jr., died from pneumonia and complications from COVID-19 in Houston on February 14. He was 71.

“My dad fought a hard fight,” she said. “He gave it his all. Very proud of him but it was God’s plan.”

The announcement from the W.H.O. last March came as the virus spread and life as we knew it was turned upside down.

“I knew that it might get worse but in my mind I thought, maybe we will not get to that point,” said Dr. Manpreet Mangat, a pulmonary and critical care physician with St. Luke’s Health in Sugar Land.

Over the past year, Mangat said she ended up treating hundreds of COVID-19 patients.

“It has been a very, very busy and tiring year. Exhausting,” she said. “But we were always there for the patients.”

She said healthcare workers stepped up to battle the virus.

“Everybody knew the job needs to be done,” she said. “We need to take care of our patients.”

Lesher said her family is still mourning the loss of the man who was the rock of their family.

“We have moments where we just, we are in disbelief. We cannot believe it,” she said. “It’s just a total nightmare.”