Virus-Stricken Family: It Started With 'Normal Cough'

5 family members infected, with 2 in intensive care
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2020 9:25 AM CDT
Virus-Stricken Family: It Started With 'Normal Cough'
Medical supplies are displayed before a news conference with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the Jacob Javits Center on Monday in New York.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

A Missouri family is urging people to stay inside after five members were diagnosed with the coronavirus, including a father and mother in intensive care. Jane Weinhaus, 63, was on a ventilator for more than a week after developing "a normal cough" that wouldn't improve, her son, Ryan, tells KSDK. A preschool teacher who had no health issues or preexisting conditions, Jane is now off the ventilator and slowly improving, according to her husband, 63-year-old Michael, who spoke from an intensive care unit Tuesday to warn people about the dangers of COVID-19. Ryan Weinhaus, 32; his wife Brittanie, 31; and brother Jason, 37, all from the St. Louis area, have also been diagnosed and are recovering at home, though Jason at one point had to visit an emergency room.

"I did not expect myself to test positive or to have some of these symptoms [including shortness of breath], but it can happen to anybody," Ryan says, adding that his brother is quarantined away from his wife and two young kids. "Be smart. Stay in your house." Dr. Mike Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization's health emergencies program, tells NBC News that the spread of the virus in families is "driving the epidemic." "Most cases, for example, even in China, are in family clusters. Most secondary cases occur in families," he says. At least three other teachers at Jane's school—Deutsch Early Childhood Center at Congregation Temple Israel in Creve Coeur, Mo.—have also tested positive, leading the facility to close for the remainder of the semester. Classes have moved online. (More coronavirus stories.)

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