Coronavirus claims lives of several elderly residents who participated in Aventura poker game

AVENTURA, Fla. – A love of poker brought a group of friends together for weekly games, but those gatherings ended in tragedy due to COVID-19.

By all accounts, Marcy Friedman, a New York native, enjoyed her retired life in South Florida.

"She was 94 when she passed, but she had more active social life than I do, playing cards every night, going to dinner with her friends," said Marcy's son, Andrew Friedman.

Poker was her passion. Four or five times a week, she helped to organize games with her friends.

The last game at her condo in Aventura was around March 11, as coronavirus scares were sweeping the nation, but before strict social distancing measures were put into play.

"Three or four days after the game, she called me and told me she was having trouble breathing and I urged her to call 911, and she was brought to the hospital on the 15th or the 16th," Andrew said.

Aventura Hospital is where Marcy was treated and where she tested positive for COVID-19. It’s also where she later died of the virus.

Beverly Glass and Frederick Sands, who were also at that poker game, also fell ill with COVID-19.

They were treated at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, in the same room, and died days apart.

The five other players from that night battled coronavirus symptoms and survived.

Marcy’s son is sure the game is to blame.

"I think that probably makes the most sense," he said. The exchange of hugs, the exchange of chips."

Andrew was able to video chat with his mother before she passed, thanks to nurses and doctors at Aventura Hospital.

He would like her remembered as a fierce defender of her family who loved everybody.

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