As lockdowns lift nationwide, there’s one thing on many people’s minds — reconnecting with family members and friends outside their household. For a family in Dallas, Texas, their reunion brought on golfing, a surprise birthday dinner party, and for some, coronavirus. At least 18 members of the Barbosa family were diagnosed with COVID-19 after last month’s birthday outing.
“Everybody says, ‘Oh, it’s my family. I’m going to go see my brother. I’m going to see my cousin,’ and they think that’s a safe word,” Ron Barbosa, 53, told BuzzFeed News.
Barbosa, a volunteer EMT, chose not to attend the party due to safety concerns.
“We knew this was going to happen,” Ron Barbosa told WFAA. ‘I mean, this whole time this has been going on we’ve been terrified.”
The Barbosa family isn’t completely sure if the spread stemmed from the May 30 celebration, but they believe that the timeline of symptoms suggests family members were infected then. Barbosa told Buzzfeed News that his nephew — host of the party — was coughing during the gathering. Earlier that day, some family members also went golfing.
“Next thing you know, the two nephews that basically live next door to him, they get the same cough and diarrhea, body aches, and they start getting sick,” Barbosa said to Buzzfeed News. “By the 6th [of June], there was a lot of symptoms. And by the 9th, people are getting really, really bad. And by the 13th, [my family] had to take my sister and my mom to the hospital.”
The Effects of Reopening
Stories like the Barbosa’s aren’t uncommon. In Shasta County, California, 13 people who attended a large family party tested positive for coronavirus. In that same county, a number of cases also broke out after a graduation party.
“If you’re getting together with others make sure you’re limiting the numbers, preferably your close social circles,” Shasta County Health Officer Dr. Karen Ramstrom said at a briefing Wednesday. “This really can impact even those that we are close to and we love.”
The US is seeing a spike in coronavirus cases nationwide as reopenings progress. According to data from John Hopkins University, at least 32 states are reporting an increase in new cases this week in comparison to last week.
Of those states, 11 of them — including Texas — have seen a 50% increase or more. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is putting a pause on the state’s reopening plans, which would have had the state fully reopened by July 4th weekend.