A New Jersey family has been devastated by the COVID-19 coronavirus. Four members of the family have died, and three others are hospitalized, with two in critical condition. Officials believe that the Fusco family was exposed to the coronavirus during a dinner party on March 10.
Local media reported that the dinner party was attended by a man who had been in contact with New Jersey’s first COVID-19 fatality, John Brennan. Brennan, along with many of the Fusco family, had ties to the horse racing industry at Freehold Raceway.
The Fusco family is a large one. Grace Fusco, who died on March 18, was the mother of 11 and the grandmother of 27.
7 Family Members Contracted COVID-19 & 4 Have Died
Three days after the dinner party, on March 13, Rita Fusco-Jackson died. The family learned that she tested positive for COVID-19 the day after her death. Officials have said that the 55-year-old was in good health, but the virus progressed rapidly.
On March 17, Rita’s sister Elizabeth Fusco said in an interview that six of her family members also tested positive for the coronavirus. Four siblings and her mother, Grace Fusco, were in the hospital at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, N.J. Her brother, Carmine Fusco, was in a Pennsylvania hospital.
A few days after Rita’s passing, on March 18, Carmine Fusco also died. Later that same day, the matriarch of the Fusco family, Grace Fusco, became the third member of the family to die. According to Ms. Paradiso Fodera, the family’s spokesperson, Grace had spent the day breathing through a ventilator, “gravely ill.”
Ms. Fodera confirmed to the New York Times that on March 19, another sibling, Vincent Fusco, died.
Three of Grace’s children remain in the hospital, and two of them are in critical condition. It’s unclear which members of the family are being treated.
Elizabeth Fusco said in her interview that, “We are waiting on 19 tests of spouses and children of the hospitalized victims, who were all in contact on March 10 or later.”
Dr. James Matera, the chief medical officer of CentraState Medical Center, told the New York Times that he is in contact with the CDC and the state’s health commissioner about the situation. They are now looking into the family’s medical history. He said, “I don’t know if it’s a strain thing. I would consider these particular people to be unusual.”
The Fusco Family Is a Large, Italian-American Family
Grace Fusco and her husband of 55 years, the late Vincenzo Fusco, had 11 children. Vincenzo was from Monte Forte, Italy, and moved to Brooklyn when he was 18 years old. He died in 2017 at the age of 74, according to his obituary.
Rita was the eldest of the 11 siblings, followed by Carmine. The nine others are Antonia, Vincent, Brigida, Andriana, Joseph, Paul, Peter, Maria and Elizabeth.
Many members of the Fusco family attended the same Roman Catholic church, St. Robert Bellarmine in Freehold. Rita taught religious education classes there, and sang in the choir, according to the church’s pastor.
During Elizabeth’s interview after Rita’s death, she said, “This has been devastating for all of us. Our hearts are broken over losing our sister, Rita. We just need help in saving our family members with life-saving medication.”