14 Family Members Contract COVID After Small Gathering

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One Texas family is trying to heal after 14 of its members tested positive for Covid-19

It seemed like a joyous occasion — after months of being separated due to the coronavirus lockdown, a family in Texas assumed it was safe enough for them to have a small get-together. A short time later, 14 of them would test positive for Covid-19. Now, most are in various stages of recovery. Tragically, one died from the virus and another remains on a ventilator.

When Tony Green and his partner decided to host a mini-family-reunion in mid-June, none of the six family members invited reported feeling sick. Yet, they would soon start to take ill and, subsequently, learn their small get-together led to big repercussions.

“I thought that everything was going to be fine,” Green told ABC News 7 WFAA. “We’re not even really going out. We’re just spending time together. Hanging out at the house. Grill, you know.” Unfortunately, the gathering didn’t turn out fine. From the original six family members who attended Green’s backyard get-together, extended family would also become infected. “Everyone has reassured me that it’s not my fault, but it’s my home,” he said. “I feel like I’m the host, and even though we don’t know who had what, it spread because I had this idea to get together. I’m having a difficult time with that.”

In total, 14 members contracted Covid-19, Green being one of them. “I ended up in the ER and found out, yes, indeed I still had the virus,” he explained of his three-day stay at Medical City Dallas after the virus attacked his nervous system.

Also admitted to the hospital that day was Green’s father-in-law, Rafael Ceja. He’s been on a ventilator for 11 days, having developed pneumonia. Ceja’s 68-year-old mother was also admitted but sadly did not survive the virus. “It’s something I never experienced in my life,” Rafael’s wife Marisa said. “I never thought I would, but it’s real. I do know it’s real.”

Green readily admits he was also skeptical about the severity of the virus prior to his family’s outbreak. He chose not to wear a mask at the family BBQ, a decision he says haunts him. “I feel very badly for the way that I reacted and thought of people for being so concerned about this,” he lamented.

The Green family story is a heartbreaking one, obviously, as well as one which illustrates how insidious the novel coronavirus is. Because some people are asymptomatic, they’re lulled into a false sense of security. Too often, by the time they realize they are Covid-19 carriers, they’ve already passed it on. And as evidenced by the Green family tragedy, it can have a devastating outcome in a short amount of time.

“The fact that people who don’t have symptoms can carry it on and spread it makes it more complicated, I think,” infectious disease doctor Priya Subramanian told KDFW. “Any kind of droplet exposure, people are at high risk for spreading the disease.”

So, how can others avoid going through what Green’s family continues to battle? Dr. Subramanian recommends avoiding gatherings altogether — yes, even among family. It’s tough. But if we love our families enough to want to see them, we surely love them enough to want to keep them safe.

Cautioned Green, “It’s not real until it’s personal.”

If you wish to contribute to the family’s medical expenses, Green has set up a GoFundMe page to offset the cost of their treatment and share updates on the family’s condition.

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