Family of woman who died of new COVID-19 strain: 'This is serious'

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston woman has died after contracting COVID-19 after the holidays. Her family said they received a call from doctors this week who confirmed she had the second strain of the virus.

Felicia Parker, 40, died on Saturday, according to her family. It started when she began having breathing problems.

"She was admitted to the hospital last Monday. She was gone already by Saturday," said her family member, Romeka James.

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Parker's family told ABC13 she had also recently been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

"This is serious. This is not just another person. This is someone's mother, someone's sister. We have to be really safe, we have to follow the CDC guidelines. It's not just another number. It's somebody," said James.

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From Type 2 diabetes to cancer and COPD, this is what health experts warn about comorbidities and COVID-19.

Experts said the newly discovered second strain of COVID-19 is not deadlier than the first, but only more contagious.

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"The average infection rate went from about 10% to about 15%," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Linda Yancey. "We do know that the new strain is in the Houston area. The Houston Health Department has detected it."

Health officials said the big concern is dealing with this new strain on top of a current surge.

Yancey adds that the current COVID-19 vaccine will protect you against the various strands, and urges the community to get vaccinated.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe has been created to help Parker's family.

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