Family members film PSA urging people to stay home after 15 of them get COVID-19 following birthday party: 'We feel guilty for gathering'

Elena Sheppard
·3 min read
A Texas family is pleading with others to take COVID-19 seriously after 15 family members fell ill. (Photo: Twitter)
A Texas family is pleading with others to take COVID-19 seriously after 15 family members fell ill. (Photo: Twitter)

A family in Arlington, Texas has filmed a PSA pleading with others to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously after 15 of their family members tested positive for COVID-19 following a small birthday party held indoors.

“I had family over at my house for some cake for my wife’s birthday. I didn’t think anything bad would happen,” says one member of the Aragonez family in a video they made to warn others of the seriousness of the virus. “Now I’m fighting coronavirus.”

In total, all 12 of the people who attended the Nov. 1 family gathering, contracted COVID-19, as well as three family members who were not at the event. “Everyone who went to my cousin’s house that day has tested positive for the coronavirus,” Alexa Aragonez, 26, says in the video.

Aragonez’s mother, Enriqueta Aragonez, was hospitalized due to her symptoms, and speaks in the video from her hospital bed. “I’m fighting against COVID-19,” Enriqueta says. “Please protect yourself. It’s real.”

“We really truly have been following CDC guidelines with the exception of gathering,” Alexa Aragonez tells Yahoo Life, saying that early in the pandemic her family had even been sewing masks to send to others. “We thought if we just maintain this small circle we won’t get infected because we’re not reintroducing different people into our lives and creating a domino effect. But I will say you really never know when this virus will hit you or hit your family.”

Both Alexa and her sister work for the city of Arlington, and asked the city to share their family-made video to help spread their personal message. It has since gone viral, with even CNN anchor Jake Tapper retweeting their message.

Enriqueta, 57, had the gravest symptoms, coming down with pneumonia which “affected both lungs in all four quadrants,” her daughter says. Enriqueta is back home now.

“We are fortunate,” Alexa says. “But so many families are not as fortunate.”

The Aragonez family, shown pre-pandemic, filmed a PSA warning others to not follow their example. (Photo: Courtesy of Alexa Aragonez)
The Aragonez family, shown pre-pandemic, filmed a PSA warning others to not follow their example. (Photo: Courtesy of Alexa Aragonez)

As for how everyone in the Aragonez family is doing, Alexa says, “Everyone is getting better, but I won’t say healthy.” She adds, “Though there is a high survival rate and lots of people tout this, I will caution: What is survival? When people have aches and pains, and have to be on blood thinners because they’re at risk of getting blood clots for the rest of their life? Is that really truly living and surviving at the state of health you had before?”

Alexa says her family feels passionate about raising awareness saying, “The best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the pain and suffering that my family is feeling right now is to only celebrate Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays with those within your own household.

“I think we’re not unlike many families across the nation who think, ‘Well, we’re being safe so it’s not going to happen to us,’” Alexa adds. “Which is why our story is really important to share.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.

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