18 Members of Texas Family Battling COVID-19 After Holding Birthday Party


Getty Clinical support technician Douglas Condie extracts viruses from swab samples so that the genetic structure of a virus can be analysed and identified in the coronavirus testing laboratory at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

The Barbosa Family is a North Texas-based family that has 18 of its members battling the coronavirus after hosting a surprise birthday party.

The Dallas-area family “has always been close,” Ron Barbosa told Buzzfeed News. He said that many members thought it would be safe to continue spending time together during the COVID-19 pandemic, the outlet continued.

According to Buzzfeed, Ron’s nephew hosted a surprise birthday party on May 30 — but Ron refused to attend the celebration for his daughter-in-law, citing concerns over the virus.

The gathering consisted of 25 people and lasted a few hours, Time Magazine reported. Now, 18 members have since tested positive for COVID-19, including Ron’s 80-something-parents and sister battling breast cancer, the magazine said.

Ron told Time that his family is determined to stick together as they face their current obstacles.

“We were horrified. People couldn’t believe that they took it to a family member,” he said to the magazine. “But now, we’re holding on together.”

Here is everything you need to know about the Barbosa Family.

1. Ron is a Volunteer EMT and Married to a Doctor, according to Buzzfeed News

Ron told Buzzfeed that he and his wife chose to refrain from spending too much time with their family outside of their own house. When they did, they would wear face masks and keep a safe distance, the outlet said.

The volunteer EMT and photographer expressed that his other family members hadn’t been taking the same precautions, according to Buzzfeed.

“The kids feel like they’re bulletproof,” he said to Buzzfeed. “[They say], ‘We’re safe. We’re going to keep living. We’re going to take trips, even. The airfares are down. We’re blasting off!'”

2.Ron Says His Nephew Unknowingly Had the Virus


GettyA temporary hospital is seen in Indio, California on March 29, 2020.

The 53-year-old told Buzzfeed that he believes his nephew, who hosted the party with his wife, was first exposed to the disease at work. The nephew had a cough on the day of the celebration, he added.

Ron also told the outlet that he thinks some of the men in his family were exposed to the virus when they all went golfing together earlier that day.

“Next thing you know, the two nephews that basically live next door to him, they get the same cough and diarrhea, body aches, and they start getting sick,” Ron expressed to Buzzfeed. “By the 6th [of June], there was a lot of symptoms. And by the 9th, people are getting really, really bad. And by the 13th, [my family] had to take my sister and my mom to the hospital.”

Ron’s nephew interacted with seven relatives during the party,  according to Time, who then “subsequently contracted the virus and spread it to 10 other family members, including two young children.”

Although the family isn’t certain that the party is the root of the family’s outbreak, Ron said it matches with the timing of their symptoms, Buzzfeed said.

“It’s a big loving family that gets together all the time and they have dinner and this just happened to be a surprise birthday dinner,” Barbosa said to the outlet.

3. Three Family Members Have Since Been Hospitalized, Including Rob’s Parents and His Sister Going Through Chemotherapy


GettyIn this handout released by the U.S. Navy, Sailors assigned to the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) treat the first patient from Los Angeles medical facilities March 29.

Ron’s mother, Carole, stopped by at the party to “drop something off,” Time Magazine reported. The 86-year-old later tested positive for COVID-19 on June 6. She was hospitalized a week later, the magazine continued.

His father, Frank, on the other hand, did not attend the gathering but also contracted the virus. He was hospitalized on June 17, Time said.

Rob told the magazine that his 88-year-old father is currently “hanging on by a thread” and is on life support at the ICU.

According to the family’s private Facebook page, Carole has since returned home to recover, Time reported.

Ron’s sister has also been discharged and is “feeling better” at home, the magazine said.

4. Ron is Urging Others to Donate Plasma After His Father Received a Donation

According to the Barbosa Facebook page, Frank received a plasma donation from a recovered coronavirus patient, Time reported.

Ron told the magazine that he is hopeful the donation will help save his father’s life.

“Prayers were answered today,” Ron wrote on Facebook, Time said. “Now he (Frank) needs to get well for mom and the Barbosa Family.”

The EMT volunteer said his dad’s condition has slightly improved, although he is “still very sick,” Buzzfeed said.

Ron is now urging people with COVID-19 antibodies to donate their blood for convalescent plasma therapy, Buzzfeed continued.

“My message is that if you’re going to see family and they don’t live with you, mask up and keep your distance,” Barbosa said, Buzzfeed reported. “I want everyone to be with their loved ones. I just want everybody to be cautious and not try to take pictures and selfies with a group of 20 people.”

5.Texas is Seeing a Surge in Coronavirus Cases Following an Aggressive Reopening

greg abbott

GettyTexas Governor Greg Abbott announces the reopening of more Texas businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol on May 18, 2020 in Austin, Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott recently disclosed that Texas would pause “further reopening,” Buzzfeed reported, following an alarming uptick in case numbers and hospitalizations.

The number of reported statewide cases was over 140,000 as of June 27, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The daily new cases was 5,747.

“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses,” Abbott said in a statement obtained by Buzzfeed. “This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”

The state has seen more than 2,300 deaths, the state health department reported.

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