Woman Loses Her Mother, Sister, And Two Brothers To Coronavirus In The Same Week

Woman Loses Her Mother, Sister, And Two Brothers To Coronavirus In The Same Week

Nearly 20 other relatives are currently quarantined in their homes, awaiting their test results.

Elizabeth Fusco has barely come to terms with her oldest sister's death when she received another devastating phone call. Her older brother had also passed away. While on the phone with the hospital Wednesday to check up on her mother, she heard the family matriarch coding in the background. Although doctors frantically tried to save her, the 73-year-old did not make it. The very next day, Thursday, the New Jersey family more bad news when another brother died, bringing the total number of deaths in the family within a week's span to four.


According to CNN, all four members of the family were victims of the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the entire globe. The family matriarch, Grace Fusco, died on Wednesday after being diagnosed with the coronavirus—shortly after her son, Carmine Fusco, passed away. A day later, another son, Vincent Fusco Jr., was claimed by the virus. Her daughter Rita Fusco-Jackson became the first COVID-19 death in the family on March 13. All three siblings were in their 50s and it's unclear whether they had underlying health issues.


"It's absolutely surreal," Elizabeth Fusco said during an interview on Thursday. "They were the roots of our lives ... It's like the second we start to grieve about one, the phone rings and there's another person gone, taken from us forever." Adding that she'll never forget hearing her mother's last moments, she said: "I listened to those doctors and those machines code my mother on the phone when she passed. I'll never get over that."


According to The New York Times, three more of Mrs. Fusco's children are currently hospitalized of which two are in critical condition. Ms. Paradiso Fodera—the family’s lawyer who is the family matriarch's cousin and currently serving as a spokeswoman—revealed that at the time of her death, Mrs. Fusco was unaware that her two oldest children had died. Nearly 20 other relatives are quarantined at their homes, waiting for their test results and upset that they cannot come together to mourn their deep collective loss. "If they’re not on a respirator, they’re quarantined. It is so pitiful. They can’t even mourn the way you would," said Fodera.


"This is an unbearable tragedy for the family. The family's biggest concern is that we have four members of one family who have passed, two on life support and one stable," Fodera explained. It is believed that the virus spread in the family after a person who had contact with a man who died in New Jersey on March 10—the state’s first coronavirus-related fatality—attended a recent Fusco family gathering. Fodera revealed that the gathering was a routine Tuesday dinner for the family. "A party to most people was a regular dinner to them," she said.


The state’s health commissioner, Judith M. Persichilli, warned against even small get-togethers with friends or relatives in light of the Fusco family's tragedy. "I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take personal responsibility and to avoid even small gatherings," she said during a briefing for reporters. The grieving family is now urging officials at CentraState or the C.D.C. to conduct an autopsy to learn more about how the virus killed Fusco-Jackson as she's been in good health.


She died a day before her test for coronavirus came back positive on Saturday evening and relatives believe speedier test results could have made a difference in her care. "They didn’t treat her as a confirmed case because everything is so delayed," said Fodera. "It’s a big bureaucracy. The testing result time is important."


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