A family surprise birthday party has left 18 people with coronavirus, including a grandfather now fighting for his life.
Ron Barbosa, from North Texas, refused to attend the May 30 party for his daughter-in-law because of safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said those hospitalised included his parents, both in their 80s, and his sister, who is also battling breast cancer.
Mr Barbosa said his nephew, unknowingly infected with the virus, hosted last month’s gathering of 25 people that only lasted a few hours and followed the state’s latest health standards.
During the party, he said the nephew interacted with seven relatives, who subsequently contracted the virus and spread it to 10 other family members, including two young children.
“When people started getting sick, we really let everyone have it,” Mr Barbosa told WFAA-TV.
“We knew this was going to happen, I mean, this whole time this has been going on we’ve been terrified.”
Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday said Texas would halt its aggressive reopening as it deals with a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalisations that has made the state a virus hotspot.
Statewide, the number of COVID-19 patients has more than doubled in two weeks. Texas has reported more than 11,000 new cases in the previous two days alone.
Mr Barbosa’s mother, Carole, who stopped by the function to drop something off, tested positive for coronavirus on June 6 and was admitted to the hospital a week later.
Mr Barbosa said his father, Frank, who didn’t attend the get-together but later contracted COVID-19, was hospitalised on June 17. He said his dad is currently “hanging on by a thread” in the ICU while on life support.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Mr Barbosa said, holding back tears.
Frank received a plasma donation on Wednesday from a recovered coronavirus patient, according to Mr Barbosa’s Facebook page, and said he hopes the procedure will save his dad’s life.
“Prayers were answered today,” Mr Barbosa wrote on Facebook.
“Now he (Frank) needs to get well for [mum] and the Barbosa Family.”
Mr Barbosa said his family remains united despite feeling a pendulum of emotions over the past few weeks.
“We were horrified. People couldn’t believe that they took it to a family member,” he said.
“But now, we’re holding on together.”
Carole has returned home to recover, according to a Facebook page the family created, which indicated that Mr Barbosa’s sister, Kathy, is feeling better and back home to recuperate.
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