Connecticut on Saturday passed yet another dark milestone in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic: 6,000 deaths linked to COVID-19.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Sean Diaz, wearing his wedding outfit, holds photos of his late wife, Cassondra Diaz, outside of his family's home in Hartford on May 15. Cassondra Diaz, 31, died due to COVID-19 complications.

© KASSI JACKSON/The Hartford Courant/Hartford Courant/TNS
Sean Diaz, wearing his wedding outfit, holds photos of his late wife, Cassondra Diaz, outside of his family’s home in Hartford on May 15. Cassondra Diaz, 31, died due to COVID-19 complications.

In all, about one in every 600 state residents having now died with or because of the disease. Here is what we know about the victims.

More than half were 80 or older

As has been the case worldwide, Connecticut’s older residents have been most likely to suffer severe illness and death due to COVID-19.

Of the 6,000 state residents whose deaths have been linked to the coronavirus, more than 3,500 were above age 80, according to state data. Additionally, more than 1,300 were between ages 70 and 79, and more than 750 were between ages 60 and 69.

This group includes people like Thomas Scanlon, 89, a longtime Granby resident who survived rickets and polio as a child and overcame great personal tragedy before dying of COVID-19 with family playing music outside his window.

But plenty were much younger

But many other COVID-19 victims have been young — sometimes much younger.

The state has recorded more than 1,000 deaths of people below age 70, including nine in their 20s or younger, 28 in their 30s and 86 in their 40s.

Even as most COVID-19 victims have been older, the disease has also claimed people like Torrin Howard, 26, of Waterbury, a football player and gospel musician who died of COVID-19 on April 7. And Cassondra Diaz, 31, of New Britain, a nursing home bookkeeper who died in late April.

They were disproportionately Black and Latino

After adjusting for age, Connecticut’s Black residents have been nearly 2 1/2 times as likely as white residents to die in connection with COVID-19, per state numbers, while the state’s Hispanic residents have been about twice as likely.

This dynamic has not been unique to Connecticut. Nationwide, Black and Latino individuals have been more susceptible to COVID-19, which experts attribute to the fact they’re more likely to work “essential” jobs, more likely to live in cities and more likely to have significant preexisting conditions due to centuries of systemic racism.

The victims of this trend have been people like Charles “Duffy” Jernigan, 61, a legendary high school basketball player in the 1970s and a presence in the Connecticut hoops scene all his life, who died in April. People like Christopher and James E. Baldwin, a father and son who died in early May at ages 52 and 73.

They lived across the state but particularly in certain areas

No region of Connecticut has been fully spared the effects of COVID-19. In fact, each of the state’s eight counties has recorded at least 83 coronavirus-linked deaths, and six of them have recorded at least 200.

The three hardest-hit counties have been Hartford (1,878 deaths), Fairfield (1,740) and New Haven (1,559). The hardest hit municipalities have been Waterbury (261 deaths, not counting residents in congregate settings), Stamford (243), Hartford (218), Bridgeport (217) and West Hartford (197).

There was Angeline Bernadel, 52, of Stratford, who worked in a Milford nursing home and died early in the pandemic; there was Nancy Krupp, 87, of Manchester, who said goodbye to her family through an iPad back in April; there was Angela Alvarado, 78, of Norwich, who family members recalled as generous and “a giver.”

Many lived in nursing homes

Of those 6,000 COVID-19 victims, more than 2,000 lived in nursing homes, according to the state.

Nursing homes have been particularly hard hit throughout the pandemic due to the age of their populations, the close quarters residents often live in, as well as lapses in planning, communication and safety at many facilities and at the state Department of Health.

The pandemic has similarly devastated assisted-living communities, where more than 400 residents have died, and has also affected jails and prisons, where 13 inmates have died.

Among the many victims of COVID-19 in nursing homes was Helen Dulack, 95, a devoted UConn basketball fan and keeper of her family’s history, who died in March at Evergreen Health Care Center in Stafford.

They were parents, children, friends and neighbors

Most of all, the 6,000 Connecticut residents, and counting, whose deaths have been linked to COVID-19 were more than just numbers. They were loving parents and devoted friends, people with great accomplishments both behind and ahead of them.

They leave behind friends and family members with nothing to do but grieve. Gilda Johnson is left to mourn her husband Gordon, 66, who died in April after both had gotten sick. Richard Wagner is left to mourn his mother Lorraine, 84, a lover of Christmas who died in mid-December, barely a week before the holiday. Betsy Roberts is left to mourn her husband and best friend, John, 79, who died in late March, months ahead of what would have been the couple’s 58th anniversary.

Six-thousand lives lost. Many more deep in sorrow.

Alex Putterman can be reached at

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