An Indianapolis couple who were married for 33 years reportedly contracted the coronavirus and passed away just one day apart.
Ernest “Ronald” Wilkins, 66 and Ann Wilkins, 59, had planned to get the COVID-19 vaccine. According to WMC5, Ronald died on Friday, Jan. 8 and Ann died the day after.
“I’m very heartbroken because I loved Ann and Ron, just like my brother and sister, and I want people to take this serious,” said Bryan, Ronald’s close friend.
The Wilkins tested positive for the coronavirus in December. They were subsequently admitted to Saint Vincent Hospital and placed on ventilators.
Ronald Wilkins previously battled diabetes and cancer. According to friends, he enjoyed music and sports. Bryan said he spoke with Ronald daily.
“That’s what we thought of each other is that we were brothers, and we did everything together,” he told WMC5. “We talked 10 times a day. If I woke up first in the morning, I would call him. If he woke up first in the morning, he’d call me.”
Ann Wilkins was an Indianapolis Public Schools teacher for 13 years before becoming a union leader. She was a fierce proponent of public school education.
“She was deeply committed to her profession and to her fellow educators,” said IPS Superintendent Alessia Johnson. “I think what she did well was sort of holding everybody to account because, at the end of the day, her goal was to make sure kids were getting served well.”
The Wilkins had plans to get get the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. Bryan hopes their passing would highlight the importance of the vaccine.
“I would rather you have a reaction to the vaccine than to try to fight COVID, the disease, because a lot of times you won’t win,” he said. “It’s real. I’ve seen it for myself and it’s something that I don’t want to see again.”