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Daughter of Texas healthcare worker who died from COVID-19 hits out at Governor

The daughter of a Texas heathcare worker who died from COVID-19 says her mom’s life could have been saved if Gov. Greg Abbott had issued his mask-wearing mandate sooner. 

In a stinging op-ed for The Statesman, Fiana Tulip says Abbott’s ‘poor policy and terrible leadership’ are responsible for the death of her mother, respiratory therapist Isabelle Papadimitriou. 

Papadimitriou, 64, succumbed to the novel coronavirus at a Dallas hospital on July 4, despite having no underlying conditions. 

In late April, Gov. Abbott defend an individual’s right to refuse to wear a mask by  issuing an executive order which stated ‘no jurisdiction could impose a civil or criminal penalty for failure to wear a face covering’,. 

However, he abruptly reversed course on July 2 as coronavirus cases soared across the state. In a new executive order, Gov. Abbott instructed Texans in almost all counties to wear masks in public spaces. 

In her op-ed in The Statesman on Tuesday, Tulip attacked Abbott for his about-face, saying his reversal was too little too late.  

‘My mother likely contracted the virus at the hospital where she worked during the period when your Executive Order No. GA-18 forbade local governments from implementing their own safety measures, such as mandating the wearing of masks, to protect the public and healthcare workers from the spread of COVID-19,’ she wrote. 

‘As hospital beds filled up across the state, you finally issued a statewide mask order on July 2, too late to help my mother. There will be far more deaths of Texans than there needed to be. 

‘Your inaction and active denial of the devastation from COVID-19 has made it clear that the people dying, and the families they’re leaving behind, are just numbers to you,’ Tulip blasted. 

The distraught daughter invited Gov. Abbott to her mother’s funeral – set to be held in Texas today – so he could see firsthand the impact of his policies.   

‘I invite you to her burial to witness our family mourning this incredible woman who gave her life to save others. You will see that we are unable to even hug each other in our grief because my brother tested positive for COVID-19 the day my mother died,’ she wrote. 

Texas is currently struggling to contain soaring numbers of COVID-19 cases. 

On Wednesday, the state reported an additional 9,879 cases, taking the total number of infections above 367,000. 

More than 4,550 Texas residents have died from the disease. 

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday night, Tulip stated that she had not received a reply from Gov. Abbott’s office as to whether he would attend her mother’s funeral. 

The Gov’s media team failed to reply to the news network on Thursday.   

During her interview, Tulip again hit out at Gov. Abbott and other officials, stating: ‘I looked at the way that Texas’ leaders were handling the virus and it just seemed reckless and careles.

 ‘I couldn’t understand why they opened up so early and as cases continued to spike, they continued to open up.’

Tulip previously praised her mom as ‘fun and fearless’  in an interview with NBC.

She detailed the days that led up to her sickness, and said her mother started to feel ill on June 27. 

Two days later, Papadimitriou received her positive test results for the virus. Less than a week later, she was dead.  

Tulip set up a GoFundMe account to lay her mother to rest. Her memorial will take place at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas.  

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