UPDATE: April 23, 2020

Rana Zoe Mungin is now on her second day without ventilator support and is responding well to treatment, according to her sister Mia Mungin.


Rana Zoe Mungin, a 30-year-old social studies teacher at Ascend Academy in Brooklyn, is fighting for her life on a ventilator in Brooklyn’s Brookdale Hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The beloved educator, who is believed to have contracted the novel coronavirus from her sister Mia Mungin, a registered nurse in New York City, was sent home twice without being tested. It wasn’t until Rana was rushed to the hospital again, barely able to breathe, that her condition was taken seriously.

“My sister went to the hospital on the 15th of March for fever and shortness of breath,” Mia Mungin told PIX11. “They gave her albuterol for asthma and and gave her a shot of Toradol for her headache…she kept saying, ‘My headache is so bad.’”

Mungin began running fever on March 10, one day after member of her staff did. She says her sister Rana (whom some friends and family call Zoe) began running fever on March 12. On her first visit to the hospital on March 15, Rana was given albuterol to treat her asthma and medication for her headache, then sent home. When her shortness of breath persisted over the following three days, Mungin called an ambulance. Once again, the sisters’ concerns were dismissed, with one paramedic suggesting that Rana’s shortness of breath could be attributed to an asthma attack.

When she arrived at the hospital, she still was not tested for COVID-19, even though she had several of the primary symptoms.

By Friday, March 20, Rana Zoe Mungin couldn’t breathe. She was intubated on a ventilator, and her condition continues to be critical. Her family and friends have rallied support to collectively plead for access to potentially life-saving drugs: the Gilead Sciences manufactured Remdesivir and the AbbVie manufactured Lopinavir-Ritonavir.

Family members are also hoping—and working for Rana to be transferred to Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital, where she could have access to an ECMO machine that could filter her lungs and could be more likely to have access to Gilead clinical trials.

“At this point I feel so helpless—being a nurse and I can’t help my family,” Mia Mungin told the Daily News on Wednesday.

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To learn more about what you can do to help Rana Zoe Mungin, please read this urgent document containing pharmaceutical company information, email and phone-call scripts for use with the appropriate elected officials, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

Read Rana’s 2015 interview with Wellesley Underground, an alternative Wellesley-alumnae blog here. It’s an interesting glimpse into one Black woman’s journey and the community, circumstances, and family that shaped her.


ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as for tips on taking care of yourselves, your families and your communities.


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