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Rose Liberto, North Carolina Nurse, Dies At 64 Of COVID-19


This has been National Nurses Appreciation Week during a time when Americans have seen close up nurses devote their lives to saving others and sometimes lose their lives doing so. Rose Liberto died this week at the age of 64. She was a nurse in the medical surgical unit of a hospital in Concord, N.C., and the mother of Jennifer Liberto, who is now at the Washington Post and once worked at NPR. Over the past few weeks, we've followed the story of her family. On April 16, Jen reported that her sister had tested positive for COVID-19, then added, our mother, Rose, has also tested positive for COVID and has been admitted at the hospital where she normally works as a nurse. On April 22, her mother was intubated. Jen wrote, her doctor called to assure us, we are so personally invested in her care. She is the face of all of us on the front lines of this hospital now. On May 3, Rose Liberto's 10th grandchild was born. On May 6, Jen got to see her mother, but as she told friends on Facebook, only those about to die get visitors. Rose Liberto is losing her battle to COVID. I got to hold her hand and touch her face. She's a fierce warrior. She saved lives and I feel certain she sacrificed herself to save lives in this truly awful pandemic. On Thursday, Jen Liberto told us that Rose Liberto had died. My sister held her hand, she wrote, her children and sisters were there by phone. Dozens of her co-workers prayed and waited outside the ICU with candles and roses. She died peacefully. She will be missed truly by so many.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "VIGNETTE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon
Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.