PSA From Family Sickened by COVID: 'We Feel Guilty'

All 12 members of Aragonez family who attended Texas birthday party got the virus
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2020 9:11 AM CST

A small birthday party in Texas came complete with fajitas, cake, and good cheer, but the 12 family members that attended it are now regretting the get-together after they all came down with COVID-19. Per WFAA, Alexa Aragonez says members of her family are usually quite careful when it comes to the virus, and so they figured it would be OK to cautiously gather to celebrate her cousin's birthday. "My family always said it won't be us," she says. "We protect ourselves. All we do is go to work and come back home. We wear a mask, we wash our hands." And so the dozen family members—including Aragonez's pregnant cousin, four kids under the age of 12, and Aragonez's 57-year-old mother, Enriqueta, per the Star-Telegram—gathered on Nov. 1 at her cousin's house. (Aragonez herself was unable to attend.) They ate and chatted at a distance, not even standing next to each other for photos.

Then, just a couple of days later, some family members who'd attended started feeling sick. "The entire family decided, 'OK, because a few of us are feeling ill, let's all get tested,'" Aragonez tells WFAA. All 12 of those at the party came back positive for COVID-19, as well as three other family members who hadn't attended. Most of those who got sick had mild symptoms—one cousin tells NBC-DFW she was "really sweaty" and had "bad headaches"—but one was hospitalized for a week: Aragonez's mom, who ended up with pneumonia as a result of her viral infection. She's now back home continuing to recuperate, and the Aragonez family, speaking in both English and Spanish, has made a video to let others know not to get together, even if you think you can do it safely. "We feel guilty for gathering," Aragonez's sister says in the clip, which was circulated by the City of Arlington. (More coronavirus stories.)

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