As COVID-19 deaths hit US, some families brace for somber Thanksgiving

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Jerry Stoddard with his daughter Katie Stoddard.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Jerry Stoddard loved to travel. Animals sensed something in him that always kept them near. He picked up running about six years ago and completed a few full and half marathons.

At 70, Stoddard may have been retired, but he kept plenty busy.

On April 6, after about a week of feeling ill and a week in the hospital, he became one of the earliest known Kentuckians to die of COVID-19. 

“It was just so fast, and unexpected,” said his daughter, Katie Stoddard. “It was when we didn’t really realize how serious this thing was.”

She remembers getting a call in late March from her mother, who mentioned her father had a sore throat and mild fever. A few days later, both her parents couldn’t taste or smell. Her dad wasn’t eating much. And he was so tired.

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