At least 18 members of a Texas family have the coronavirus after a surprise birthday party

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Ron Barbosa’s family has always been united. Members of the Dallas area family see each other almost every day, and when the coronavirus pandemic occurred, many of them thought it would be nice to continue spending time together.

But after more than a dozen family members hosted a surprise birthday dinner for one of Barbosa’s nieces last month, at least 18 members of the extended family became ill with COVID-19.

Three became so ill that they were hospitalized: Barbosa’s father, 88, his mother, 86, and his sister, who is receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer.

“Everyone says, ‘Oh, it’s my family. I’m going to see my brother. I’m going to see my cousin,’ and they think it’s a safe word,” Barbosa told BuzzFeed News.

While they are not sure whether the virus started spreading among the family at the May 30 party, Barbosa, 53, who did not attend the meeting, said that by the time they started seeing symptoms, it appears that The initial transmission between family members happened that weekend.

“It’s a great loving family that gets together all the time and has dinner, and this turned out to be a surprise birthday dinner,” said Barbosa.

He said he believes his nephew, who organized the party for his wife, was exposed to the disease for the first time at work and that he had a cough on the day of the meeting. Early in the day, some of the men in the family went golfing together.

“The next thing you know is that the two nephews who basically live next to him have the same cough and diarrhea, body aches and they start to get sick,” Barbosa said. “By 6 [of June]There were many symptoms. And by 9, people are getting really, really bad. And by the 13th, I had to take my sister and mother to the hospital. “

The rapid spread of the coronavirus among the family occurs when cases explode in Texas, leading officials to fight to control things. As of Thursday, the state has recorded nearly 73,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 2,200 deaths.

Due to recent increases in the number of cases and hospitalizations, Governor Greg Abbott said Thursday that the state will stop any reopens. “The last thing we want to do as a state is go back and close business,” Abbott said in a statement. “This temporary pause will help our state corner the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”

Public health experts have advised people to avoid any close contact with others outside their immediate home, to cover their faces, and to keep a safe distance from others when they leave home to protect those who run a increased risk of serious illness.

Barbosa, who is an EMT volunteer and photographer, said that he and his wife, a doctor, have not spent much time with the family outside their home and that they wear masks and stay away when they leave. But he knows that not everyone in his family has been doing the same thing.

“The kids feel like they are bulletproof,” he said. “[They say], ‘They were safe. We are going to continue living. We are going to make trips, even. Air fares are low. We are taking off! And I said, ‘You know what? If you go back and kill one of us, you will feel bad, ‘and then it almost happened. “

Barbosa said that while his sister has been discharged and hopes that her mother can go home soon, her father is still very ill.

He initially contacted local media on Wednesday after his father’s doctors were having trouble finding a convalescent plasma phosphor for him. The local WFAA television station was the first to report on the family group. Just before the story aired, his father finally received the plasma transfusion.

Barbosa said that while his father is still very ill, his condition has slightly improved.

“My message is that if you go to see the family and they don’t live with you, mask yourself and keep your distance,” said Barbosa. “I want everyone to be with their loved ones. I just want everyone to be cautious and not try to take photos and selfies with a group of 20 people.”