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Infectious Kentucky

Kentucky infectious disease expert who pushed mask-wearing dies of COVID-19

September 20, 2020 | 10:02am A Kentucky infectious disease expert who forcefully led local calls to wear masks has died after a four-month battle against COVID-19. Dr. Rebecca Shadowen, 62, had been a vocal advocate for mask-wearing from the very early stages of the coronavirus pandemic reaching the US, posting about it on social media,…

September 20, 2020 | 10:02am

A Kentucky infectious disease expert who forcefully led local calls to wear masks has died after a four-month battle against COVID-19.

Dr. Rebecca Shadowen, 62, had been a vocal advocate for mask-wearing from the very early stages of the coronavirus pandemic reaching the US, posting about it on social media, her family told NBC.

She was also a leading member of the Bowling Green-Warren County Coronavirus Workgroup when she fell ill herself in May, believing it came from an infected caregiver treating an elderly relative.

Even after she fell sick, Shadowen continued working for the local taskforce — repeatedly pushing for a local mask ordinance, colleagues at her workplace, the Medical Center at Bowling Green, told NBC.

“She’d say, ‘Look folks, this isn’t politics. This is science,’” Dennis Chaney, the medical center’s vice president of ancillary services, told NBC. “I heard her say that many times.”

During her four-month battle with the contagion — which at numerous times saw her on a ventilator and in ICU — she would continue to work from her hospital bed when lucid, her husband, fellow doctor David Shadowen, said.

“There were multiple times she thought she was turning the corner and we thought she was on the road to recovery,” he told NBC.

He was with Shadowen and their two adult children when his wife succumbed on Sept. 11, he said.

“A lot of kids think of their parents as heroes. Mine actually was,” her daughter, Kathryn, 23, told NBC.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear noted the doctor’s campaigning while saying he was “heartbroken” at the death of the “front line hero.”

“Please, follow Dr. Shadowen’s advice – wear a mask in her honor,” Beshear tweeted.

With Post wires

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