Surprise party leaves 18 guests infected

 

Despite small gatherings and outings now being allowed as lockdown restrictions ease up around the globe, one family's nightmare birthday party serves as a warning against relaxing social distancing measures too soon.

A family from Texas in the US organised a surprise birthday party for a family member that ended with 18 of them being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Here in Australia limits on gatherings vary from state to state, with Victoria recently cutting back its gatherings at home to five people (plus the host family) while outdoor gatherings were restricted to 10 after a spike in cases in that state.

Cafes, pubs and restaurants that were due to open to 50 patrons today can only have 20 paying customers at a time now.

Elsewhere across the country, pubs, restaurants and gyms have begun the process of reopening but with strict limits on how many customers can access them at any given time.

While in the United States, bars and restaurants have also been reopening despite the continued increase in cases.

This surprise party ended with 18 members with contracting coronavirus. Picture: YouTube/KHOU-TV
This surprise party ended with 18 members with contracting coronavirus. Picture: YouTube/KHOU-TV

For the Barbosa family, a gathering to mark a loved one's milestone birthday has turned into a nightmare after 18 people caught COVID-19.

Rob Barbosa said that only seven of his family members who attended the May 30 bash for his daughter-in-law's 30th contracted the bug, but then took it home and infected nearly a dozen others, KHOU-TV reported Thursday.

Mr Barbosa, a volunteer paramedic who is married to a doctor, didn't attend the event but described it as taking only a "couple of hours" before 18 people had been infected.

"When people started getting sick, we really let everyone have it," Mr Barbosa said. "We knew this was going to happen. I mean this whole time this has been going on we've been terrified."

A total of 25 people came and went during the party, Barbosa said, including his nephew, who KHOU-TV have identified as being the person who unknowingly infected the others with the virus.

The report stated he had a slight cough which he had put down to being a symptom from his construction job.

The infected partygoers include two young children, two elderly grandparents, Mr Barbosa's sister Kathy, who is battling breast cancer, and his parents, Frank and Carole, both in their 80s.

In total three people within the family have been hospitalised, with Frank currently in the emergency ward and on life support where he's been since June 17.

Rob Barbosa said he ‘let everyone have it’ when he discovered 18 members of his family had tested positive with coronavirus at a party he and his wife avoided. Picture: YouTube/KHOU-TV
Rob Barbosa said he ‘let everyone have it’ when he discovered 18 members of his family had tested positive with coronavirus at a party he and his wife avoided. Picture: YouTube/KHOU-TV

The Barbosa family's scary tale comes just days after 23 people who visited a bar in Jacksonville on June 6 and later tested positive for the virus.

Florida health worker Erika Crisp said she and 15 of her friends had been stuck at home for months when they visited Lynch's Irish Pub. Seven employees were also diagnosed with COVID-19.

Ms Crisp said she regretted being "careless" but had thought she would be safe as Florida's state government had made the decision to re-open businesses.

"I think we were careless, and we went out into a public place when we should not have. And we were not wearing masks," she said.

"I think we had a whole 'out of sight, out of mind' mentality. The state opens back up and said everybody was fine, so we took advantage of that."

 

Ms Crisp and 15 of her friends all became infected after a night out at this pub.
Ms Crisp and 15 of her friends all became infected after a night out at this pub.

Australia is experiencing a spike, with most new cases occurring in Victoria. Yesterday there were 33 new cases, the biggest rise in cases since April 7, with Premier Daniel Andrews warning the cases "will continue to rise" as authorities test "entire suburbs".

Continue the conversation @RebekahScanlan | rebekah.scanlan@news.com.au

Originally published as Surprise party infects 18 guests



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