Beloved Brooklyn teacher, 30, dies of coronavirus after she was twice denied a COVID-19 test

A Brooklyn middle school teacher has died of coronavirus after a month-long battle.

The beloved 30-year-old social studies teacher lost the battle with the deadly virus after being twice denied a COVID-19 test.

On Monday, April 27th, the middle school teacher, Rana Zoe Mungin, died of coronavirus. This has been confirmed to ABC News by her devastated mother.

Image credits: Nohemi Maciel / ABC News

Although the 30-year-old woman repeatedly sought help and asked to be tested for COVID-19, her family shares Brooklyn’s Brookdale Hospital ignored her signals of distress. They also point out this was the very same hospital where Zoe’s older sister died of an asthma attack 15 years ago.

Friends of the deceased teacher claim that an emergency healthcare worker dismissed her condition, treating it as a simple ‘panic attack’.

The cherished teacher’s sister, Mia Mungin, a registered New York City nurse, has been regularly posting updates on Zoe’s condition.

Mia shared on her Twitter account that her sister ‘fought a long fight’.

The NYC nurse firmly believes her sister was a victim of racism in the healthcare system. About three weeks ago, when there was still hope for saving Zoe’s life, Mia wrote on Facebook:

“Racism and health disparities… still continues at this day and age. The zip code in which we live in still predetermines the type of care we receive.”

Rana Zoe Mungin was well known for her admirable hardworking nature and her amazing kindhearted personality.

She was a teacher at the Ascend Academy in East New York, Brooklyn. Moreover, Zoe was a first-gen college student with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wellesley College. She also earned a Master of Fine Arts from The University of Massachusetts in Creative Writing.

Unfortunately, she was working in a New York City area that was among the hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) released data showing that 30% of the COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are of African Americans, even though they represent only 13% of the population.

Zoe’s friends and family believe her tragic death was caused by racism and ignorance. Nohemi Maciel, a friend of the late teacher, claims:

“She died not only because of COVID-19, but because we live in a world that is racist and anti-black. We know that black people are dying at disproportionate rates. This cannot be left out of the conversation.I’m heartbroken and don’t know how to live in a world without Zoe. But I’m also angry. I’m angry that her students lost a wonderful and committed teacher, because representation matters.”

The unfortunate death of the middle school teacher broke the hearts of the people who loved and admired her.

Maciel shares that Zoe was her rock. She continues:

“I cheered her on through grad school and she did the same for me years later. Every accomplishment and setback, Zoe was one of the first to know. She was a fierce and loyal friend.”

Another friend of Mungin, Lauren Calihman, who met Zoe during her freshman year at Wellesley College, claimed that people living in areas with underfunded hospitals are often treated horribly. Lauren says that they are being told that “their lives don’t matter, that they don’t matter”. She adds:

“Imagine if Zoe had received treatment consistent with the severity of her symptoms, rather than receiving treatment consistent with her origins. She was the kind of person so captivating and sincere in her dealings with others and her writing that she naturally attracted a following, and scores of friends and admirers recently fought tooth and nail for her without ever having met her.” 

A moral and systemic failure”. 

That’s how the President of Wellesley College described the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on black and Latinx families. The founder and former executive director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology shares that Zoe was a significant part of their community.

“Rana touched the lives of so many members of our community during her time here at Wellesley and beyond. As a social studies educator in Brooklyn, Rana and her love of teaching exemplified Wellesley’s mission to make a difference in the world, and our motto of Non Ministrari sed Ministrare, ‘not to be ministered unto, but to minister.'”

Responding to the racial disparity in coronavirus cases, the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that they would open five additional sites to prioritize the needs of low-income communities of color.

Calihman grievously says the mayor’s efforts are “too little and too late” for Zoe. However, she admits they might be just enough for someone in her position. She deeply wishes for her friend’s tragic fate to become a reason for significant change in the way the healthcare system treats other people like her.

“I can only hope her story ignites sweeping change.”

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