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'Let us mourn in peace': Family of Ontario's youngest COVID-19 victim hurt by online rumours

Last Updated Jan 27, 2021 at 10:00 am EST

The father of Ontario’s youngest COVID-19 victim is speaking out about hurtful and “absurd rumours” spreading online that his teenage son’s death was the result of suicide or a drug overdose, rather than the virus that’s killed over 5,000 Ontarians.

“They were not there at the time of death and they were not there to watch him struggle with COVID-19, let us mourn in peace,” Ahmad Dabeh said, addressing the social media rumours through a translator.

Ahmad’s son, 19-year-old Yassin Dabeh, was a contact cleaner at the Middlesex Terrace Limited long-term-care home near London. He became infected with the virus during the second week of January. He complained of chest pains and was in and out of hospital a few times, but was sent home after being treated with oxygen, his father explained.

On Yassin’s final day, Ahmad says he found his son unconscious in bed. An ambulance was called but it was too late. Yassin was pronounced dead at home.

Since then the family has had to face the painful rumours. Their grief was further exacerbated when they were forbidden from attending Yassin’s funeral after Ahmad, his wife and their eight other children all tested positive for COVID-19.

The family left Syria five years ago for a better life in Canada.

Yassin is being remembered as a sweet, lovable, compassionate boy with a “bright future.” Ahmad says his dream for his son was to get a good education and have a good career.

At this point the family is not laying blame on the hospital or the long-term care home where Yassin worked.

Ahmad says his son enjoyed his job and never complained about health and safety issues.