Three members of the family — the grandparents, in their 80s, and a sister with breast cancer — were hospitalized with severe cases

By Julie Mazziotta
June 29, 2020 05:40 PM
Advertisement
Getty

A Texas family is reeling after 18 of them were infected with the new coronavirus, COVID-19 — and three were hospitalized — following a surprise birthday party.

Ron Barbosa, from Carrollton, Texas, said that 25 people attended the party to celebrate his daughter-in-law’s 30th birthday. His nephew was the host, and was unaware that he had COVID-19, thinking that his cough was from his job in construction, WFAA reported.

Barbosa, whose wife is a doctor, had refused to attend the party out of concern that he would get COVID-19. And though the family had intended to social distance, the virus quickly spread through the family.

"It wasn't that long. It was only a couple of hours," Barbosa told WFAA. "But during that brief time, somehow the other 18 family members are now infected with COVID."

Of those 18 family members, three are dealing with life-threatening cases — Barbosa’s parents Frank and Carole, who are both in their 80s, are hospitalized, along with Barbosa’s sister Kathy, who has breast cancer.

Kathy, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatments, and Frank did not attend the party — it was only Carole who had stopped by to drop something off — but the family sees each other frequently enough that they all got infected.

Carole and Kathy have since been able to leave the hospital, but Frank is “hanging on by a thread” in the ICU on life support, Barbosa said.

“They’re saying this is one of the last straws for my dad,” he said, adding, while holding back tears, “It’s heartbreaking.”

Barbosa has set up a Facebook page to share updates on their treatment, and said that he’s hopeful after his dad got a donation of plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient.

“Prayers were answered today,” Barbosa wrote on Facebook, the Associated Press reported. “Now he needs to get well for mom and the Barbosa Family.”

Barbosa said that he and his wife were initially furious with their family for holding and attending the party.

"When people started getting sick, we really let everyone have it," he told WFAA. "We knew this was going to happen, I mean this whole time this has been going on we've been terrified."

But the whole family is now united as its patriarch fights for his life in the hospital.

"We were horrified. People couldn't believe that they took it to a family member," Barbosa said. "But now, we're holding on together."

Texas is currently seeing record-breaking numbers of new COVID-19 infections, with 6,057 on Saturday. The number of hospitalizations in the state — 5,102, as of Friday — has tripled since Memorial Day, when bars and restaurants reopened. Gov. Greg Abbott has since ordered bars to close again, and restaurants have to reduce their capacity.