Texas family of 18 diagnosed with coronavirus after surprise birthday party

CARROLLTON, TEXAS >> A surprise birthday party that resulted in 18 people testing positive for the coronavirus left a North Texas man horrified as his father continues to fight for his life in a hospital intensive care unit.

Ron Barbosa, who is married to a doctor and declined to attend the May 30 party for his daughter-in-law due to security concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said those hospitalized included her parents, both in his 80s and his sister, who also fights against breast cancer.

Barbosa said her nephew, unknowingly infected with the virus, hosted last month’s 25-person meeting that only lasted a few hours and followed the state’s latest health standards. During the party, he said the nephew interacted with seven family members, who subsequently contracted the virus and transmitted it to 10 other family members, including two young children.

“When people started to get sick, we really let everyone have it,” Barbosa told WFAA-TV. “We knew this was going to happen, I mean, this whole time this has been happening, we’ve been terrified.”

Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that Texas would halt its aggressive reopening by dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations that have made the state a virus hot spot. 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 past two days alone.

Barbosa’s mother, Carole, who stopped at the show to drop something, tested positive for coronavrius on June 6 and was admitted to the hospital a week later.

Barbosa said his father, Frank, who did not attend the meeting but later contracted COVID-19, was hospitalized on June 17. He said his father is “hanging by a thread” in the ICU while on life support.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Barbosa, holding back tears.

Frank received a plasma donation on Wednesday from a recovered coronavirus patient, according to Barbosa’s Facebook page. Barbosa said he hopes the procedure will save his father’s life.

“The prayers were answered today,” Barbosa wrote on Facebook. “Now he (Frank) needs to improve for mom and the Barbosa family.”

Barbosa said his family remains united despite feeling a pendulum of emotions in recent weeks.

“We were horrified. People couldn’t believe they took it to a family member, “he said. “But now, we are holding together.”

Carole has returned home to recover, according to a Facebook page the family created, stating that Barbosa’s sister Kathy is feeling better and is home to recover.