A university professor in Argentina collapsed and died in front of her virtual class last week after reportedly complaining over the Zoom session that she was having difficulty breathing.
Paola De Simone, 46, who taught 20th century world history at Universidad Argentina de la Empresa in Buenos Aries, had a virtual room full of students who asked her to give them her home address so they could call for help, but De Simone, gasping, said "I can't" before collapsing, according to the New York Post.
De Simone's lifeless body was later discovered by her husband, a doctor, when he returned home. The professor had allegedly mentioned her health struggle on Twitter, the Post reported.
“It is very complicated. I have been here [with the virus] for more than four weeks and the symptoms do not go away,” De Simone wrote, according to The Sun. “My husband is exhausted from working so much at the moment.”
Ana Breccia, 23, one of De Simone's students, laid out what happened in the professor's last moments: "She began by saying that she had pneumonia, we saw it was worse than in previous classes,” she said. “At one point she could not continue passing slides, nor speak and she became unbalanced.”
A second student referred to De Simone as an “unforgettable teacher, one of those who give you a hand in everything, who make you love what you study, who go out of their way for their students. We are going to miss you a lot,” The Sun noted.
Silvina Sterin Pensel, an Argentine journalist in New York and former classmate of De Simone, stated that she was not surprised to learn that De Simone had tried to teach despite being ill. “I totally portray Paola deciding, ‘I can totally do this, my students need me,'” according to The Washington Post, adding that the professor's death is a reminder that the novel coronavirus is real.
Argentina has been the site of 475,000 coronavirus cases, with nearly 10,000 fatalities. A total of 349,000 people have successfully recovered from the illness.
“The virus is still making rounds in Buenos Aires,” Sterin Pensel told the newspaper. “In Argentina, the confinement has been very strict, so people are showing signs of fatigue in complying. But these kinds of reminders, these awful reminders, they shake your core.”