Michael Lang, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Dayton in Ohio, has died of COVID-related complications. It wasn’t clear where Lang had contracted the virus, but he succumbed after a lengthy hospitalization in LaGrange, Illinois, according to school officials.
“We extend our deepest sympathy and prayers to his family, friends, professors and our campus community,” the university said in a message to the school. “The loss of Michael calls our campus community to honor his memory and support those who are affected by his passing.”
Lang isn’t the only college student who has died of COVID-19. 20-year-old Jamain Stephens Jr. of California University of Pennsylvania passed away in September. 19-year-old Chad Dorill was “healthy” when he contracted COVID-19 and passed away late last month of complications. While younger people only rarely contract serious or fatal cases of COVID-19, “rarely” isn’t the same thing as “never.”
During his short life, Lang was a huge fan of fishing and golfing, and even worked as a caddy during the summers, according to his obituary. Michael’s dad Paul Lang told The Today Show that, “Our kid is in a better place, and he’ll be looking down on us,” he said. “But he’s 18. He was way too young.”
COVID-19 cases are currently going up in 49 of 50 states. (Mississippi is currently the only state with an infection rate trending in the right direction.) While it’s easy to become numb to the threat of the pandemic, it’s important to remember that staying safe isn’t just about you — it’s about the people you could infect.