The coronavirus has devastated a large New Jersey family, killing three of them and infecting at least four others. Grace Fusco, the family's 73-year-old matriarch, died on Wednesday, unaware that her two eldest children—Carmine Jackson and Rita Fusco-Jackson, both in their 50s —had died before her, the New York Times reports. Four more of her 11 children have been hospitalized, three of them in critical condition. Another 20 relatives have been quarantined. Many Fusco family members are involved in horse racing and training, and authorities believe they were infected when an associate of Yonkers Raceway worker John Brennan, the first New Jersey resident to die from COVID-19, attended a family gathering, reports NJ.com.
Authorities aren't sure why the coronavirus has taken such a heavy toll on one family. Relatives say none of the victims had underlying health conditions. Dr. James Matera, chief medical officer of CentraState Medical Center, says he has discussed the case with state and federal authorities. "I don’t know if it's a strain thing," he tells the Times. "I would consider these particular people to be unusual." Judith Persichilli, New Jersey's health commissioner, has warned against holding family get-togethers. "I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take personal responsibility and to avoid even small gatherings," she said on Sunday. (Read more coronavirus stories.)