The widow of a police officer who died of Covid-19 has a warning for undecided voters

It’s impossible to measure how much Alice Roberts has lost to Covid-19.

Since the virus took her husband Charles “Rob” Roberts on May 11, she lost a life partner, a cook and the person who constantly made her laugh. Her children have lost a father, the person who helped them with schoolwork and rooted for them during sports games. And their community of Glen Ridge, New Jersey, lost a beloved police officer.

So when President Donald Trump recently advised Americans not to let Covid-19 dominate their lives, his words were of little comfort.

“It’s much too late for that, of course,” Roberts wrote in an op-ed for “For my family and me, it took over our lives when it took my husband, Rob.”

Roberts’ husband contracted Covid-19 while on duty as an officer for the Glen Ridge Police Department, she wrote. As the family awaited test results in April to see whether he was positive, Rob collapsed while at home.

After his colleagues rushed to the home and revived him, he was taken to the hospital, where he eventually recovered from the virus. But, ultimately, he couldn’t recover from the brain damage he sustained during his collapse and he was removed from a ventilator, Alice Roberts wrote. He was 45.

Rob’s death was the first time an officer died in the line of duty in the township’s 125 year history, the Glen Ridge mayor said at the time.

“Every day, it hits me differently, as to what I’ve lost,” Alice Roberts told CNN’s John Berman on Wednesday.

What she wants people to know

Before the pandemic hit, Roberts wrote, she never asked for much in life.

When her husband was sick, she prayed and hoped that he would get better. And now that he’s gone, Roberts hopes that his death will have had meaning and purpose.

She has a message for people who are supporting President Donald Trump in this election, as well as for those who find themselves on the fence.

“I plead with you to remember his lack of action after learning the true dangers of the virus in January,” Roberts wrote. “Consider the long-term consequences that his failed pandemic response has had on first responders, doctors, nurses, workers, students, teachers and families.”

Prominent leaders have called to express their condolences, Roberts said. She’s heard from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called her late Tuesday.

She said the former vice president talked to her about the hardships he had faced in his own life, and told her he knew nothing he could say would bring her husband back.

“It was honestly just like talking to a friend,” she told CNN.

But Roberts says she has yet to hear from Trump — and at this point, the damage has been done.

“I don’t want to hear from him,” she said. “He’s spoken in his actions, and as they say, actions speak louder than words.

The toll that the virus has taken on her family and so many others is insurmountable. But unlike many Americans, Roberts said she doesn’t feel that the President has lost anything.

“We’ve lost an incredible amount, and I think we just stand to lose so much more in the next four years if he is reelected,” she told CNN.

“… It’s hard to tell how much more … I hate to question that because that’s a scary question: how much more can we really take?”


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