A few weeks later, he was taken to the hospital with severe congestion. It was the height of the pandemic in the New York City area, and Shafqat waited three days for an available bed. After another week, Khan’s mother got a phone call from the doctor: Shafqat had gone into cardiac arrest and could not be resuscitated. He was interred the following day. “The burial was live-streamed for us,” Khan said.

In the days after her father’s death, Khan was desperate to commiserate with others who’d gone through what she had. “COVID grief is so very unusual,” she said. “It’s overwhelming; it’s trauma.” After spending some time on Survivor Corps, an online community for COVID-19 survivors and family members of those who have died from the disease, Khan decided to start her own support group on Facebook. She gave it an easily searchable name, “COVID-19 Loss Support for Family and Friends,” and quickly saw its ranks grow by the hundreds; as of today, the group has 2,700 members from across the world. To scroll down the group’s page is to wade into a sea of despair: There are hundreds of photographs of dead fathers and sisters and wives, links to Change.org campaigns, and post after post describing shock at Trump’s recent comments about the virus…

Khan, who works in book publishing, is a registered Democrat and, like her dad, has always been interested in politics. But nothing and no one has enraged or energized her the way Trump did with his comments last week. “It’s so triggering” for COVID-19 families, she said. After Trump’s triumphant return from the hospital, Khan called her best friend, who also lost her father to the virus this year. “We just cried about [it] together,” Khan said. Starting the Facebook group was a way to help herself and others cope with loss, but lately it hasn’t felt like enough, she said.