College professor collapses during virtual class, dies of coronavirus

For illustrative purposes a woman holds her mobile phone with a Covid-19 note in front of a computer screen with ZOOM communicator logo during Coronavirus pandemic on April 21, 2020. Due to the lockdown connected with Covid-19 pandemic people are for (Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A college professor in Argentina died on Wednesday after she struggled to breathe and collapsed during a virtual zoom lecture following a weeks-long battle with the coronavirus, according to reports.

Paola de Simone, 46, taught at the Universidad Argentina de la Empresa (UADE) in Buenos Aires. She was married and had a daughter, according to Clarin, a newspaper in the country. De Simone had previously detailed her struggle with COVID-19 in a Twitter post on Aug 28, writing that her symptoms had failed to subside after four weeks.

In the post, she added that her husband -- in the medical therapy and emergencies field -- was exhausted from working so much as the virus continued to impact the South American city.

During the Zoom lecture, her students watched from their own screens as she struggled to breathe, according to MDZ Online, an Argentine newspaper. They asked for her address so they could call an ambulance, but the teacher was hardly able to speak. She only responded "I can't" before passing out.

The Universidad Argentina de la Empresa released a statement conveying "deep sorrow" over her passing, adding that she was a professor at the department of government and international relations and had 15 years of experience at the university.

"Paola was a passionate and dedicated teacher, and a great person," the school wrote, according to Clarin.

Friends and colleagues expressed their grief at her passing, including Facundo Cruz, an academic coordinator at UADE.

"Farewell to a friend. We will miss you," he wrote on Twitter, adding in a statement that she had been teaching with a cough that failed to go away.

Students would also express what she meant as a teacher, and the lessons she forever passed on to them.

In the blog Politlogos al Whiskey, which had the title "In memory of Paola de Simone (1973-2020)," one student wrote: “Paola left, but she first taught us love for what we choose to do, empathy for those around us and curiosity for the world. Thank you teacher, always."


As of Friday morning, Argentina has more than 451,198 total coronavirus cases and at least 9,361 deaths from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The only other South American countries to surpass Argentina's total number of COVID-19 infections are Brazil, Peru, and Colombia.

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