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Jacksonville coronavirus deaths double in one day

The spike came the same day a former Jacksonville Jaguars star shared his story.

The number of deaths attributed to coronavirus has more than doubled in one day in Jacksonville on the same day as one of its most famous citizens recounted his near-death brush with the illness.

The Florida Department of Health COVID-19 “dashboard” evening update Thursday showed there are nine victims who have died from the illness in Duval County. The evening update a day earlier had four deaths in Jacksonville.

The morning update showed seven had died and two more fatalities were added by the end of the day.

Tony Boselli, the Jacksonville Jaguars founding first round draft pick and former multi-year all-pro offensive tackle, gave a blunt interview Thursday with the Florida Times-Union newspaper.

The virus “buried me,” the 47-year-old potential NFL Hall of Famer said.

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Boselli told the Times-Union he felt he contracted COVID-19 March 18 and the infection engulfed his body quickly. Before he knew it, he was hospitalized for five days at Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic in the intensive care unit.

“I guess the thought was there’s no way this is how the story is supposed to end here,” Boselli said in the newspaper interview published Thursday afternoon. “This is nuts. I never felt like, ‘poor me, or why me?’ You get sick, it happens. But the fact I was in the hospital with the coronavirus and crazy thoughts were going through my mind, like ‘I can’t believe this is going on.’

“The worst was my second day in ICU when they were upping my oxygen levels. That was probably the lowest, scariest moment. I had no family around me. I can’t remember exactly what the doctor said, something about the machine needing to go to another level for more oxygen if that didn’t work,” he said.

Boselli’s tale is a stark demonstration how the virus can strike anyone. He credited the hospital’s treatment for his recovery and the strength of his wife, Angie, also 47. She also tested positive for the illness, but didn’t have the same severe symptoms as the former gridiron giant.

He also warned that young people are not immune to the infection.

Boselli said the effects of the virus aren’t completely gone. “I can still feel my lungs aren’t all the way back.”

In total, there are 286 people who’ve tested positive for the illness in Jacksonville. That’s up from Thursday morning’s tally of 271 infections in Jacksonville. Out of those, 276 reside in Duval County and another 10 people are non-residents. All cases recorded in Duval County are in people who reside in Florida.

Out of those infected, 36 people have been hospitalized in Jacksonville.

A total of 5,028 tests for coronavirus have been administered in Duval County. Of those, 4,552 have come back negative.

Across the state, 8,010 people have tested positive for coronavirus. Out of those, 128 people have died around Florida.

Nationally, 238,820 people had been confirmed to have COVID-19 as of Thursday evening. Of those, 5,148 people have died from the illness in the United States.

Written By

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at drewdixonwriting@gmail.com.

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