A Texas family is urging others to abstain from gathering after a small birthday party left 15 people infected with COVID — and one of them in the hospital.
Last week, the city of Arlington released a video in which the family spoke out about their experience with the coronavirus and warned other people about its spread.
"I went to my nephew’s house and loved seeing my family, but now, I’m fighting against COVID-19," Enriqueta Aragonez, 57, said in a video message from her hospital bed with plastic tubes in her nose.
"Please protect yourself. It’s real," added Enriqueta, who has been battling severe pneumonia in her lungs since Nov. 12.
Her daughter Alexa was also featured in the video, adding, "All this pain that my family is feeling, this loneliness, this sickness, this longing to be healthy, could have been prevented."
"Please, don't be like my family and ignore the CDC guidelines," she urged. "By staying apart, we can fight this virus together. The cure starts and ends with you."
Alexa, who works for the city of Arlington’s communications department, further expressed the family's regret to The Washington Post on Sunday.
"Of course we regret getting together, but we all have in mind that this could be a lesson for all of us," she said. "One moment of carelessness has cost us a month of peace, has cost us sleep, has cost us laughs, has cost us a lot of money."
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The public service announcement ended by reiterating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines: Stay at home if you aren't feeling well, wash your hands, wear a face mask and maintain 6 feet of social distance.
Over the weekend, the United States surpassed more than 12 million cases as the country enters its third wave of the spread since March.
In Texas alone, there have been at least 1,172,664 cases and 21,083 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic (as of Monday morning), according to a New York Times database. On Sunday, the state reported 79 new coronavirus deaths and 8,534 new cases.
Like many public health officials, Alexa is urging the public to refrain from traveling for the holidays.
"We need to get creative this holiday season," she said. "Find ways to gather virtually and safely. One does not need to be in physical presence of other people to feel closeness. Modifying the way we celebrate holidays this year can guarantee us many more holidays in the future."
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