Ron Barbosa had a bad feeling about attending a birthday party in North Texas on May 30 for his daughter-in-law, who was turning 30. So, Barbosa, a volunteer EMT who is married to a doctor, decided to skip the gathering among family members. Now, according to WFAA, 18 people in his family have tested positive for COVID-19.
"When people started getting sick, we really let everyone have it," Barbosa said. "We knew this was going to happen, I mean this whole time this has been going on we've been terrified."
The celebration was hosted by Barbosa’s nephew, who unknowingly had the virus, and attributed his slight cough to the after effects of working in construction. That same nephew also played golf with a couple relatives prior to the gathering that a total of 25 people attended, though, not simultaneously. "It wasn't that long. It was only a couple of hours," he said. "But during that brief time, somehow the other 18 family members are now infected with COVID."
Barbosa believes seven family members contracted the virus at the party before spreading it to 10 other relatives, which included his grandparents, sister Kathy, and parents, Frank and Carole, who are in their 80s and have been together for 68 years.
Carole has been hospitalized since June 13, while Frank, who was taken to the hospital four days later, is currently in ICU, and close to being placed on a ventilator. "My dad's hanging on by a thread," Barbosa admitted. "They’re saying this is one of the last straws for my dad." Despite not attending the party, Kathy still contracted the virus while she was already undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Barbosa said that she’s recovering and feeling better.
Texas has seen an exponential spike in new coronavirus cases this month. The state had a record 5,996 cases on Thursday. Only 593 cases were reported on June 1. The surge in numbers forced Gov. Greg Abbott to announce a pause in reopening plans earlier today. This course change comes after Abbott tried to downplay concerns last week, saying "there is no reason right now to be alarmed" about the spike in COVID-19-related hospitalizations.