99th birthday party spurs dozen coronavirus infections among relatives

The family isn't sure who contracted the virus first

A dozen family members who traveled to St. Louis to celebrate their father’s 99th birthday found themselves all infected by the novel coronavirus.

The family members, who hailed from Plano, Texas, San Francisco, and elsewhere all said they took precautions ahead of the celebration, but that symptoms set soon after the celebrations ended, Fox 4 News reported.

“So there’s a total of 12 of us,” Larry Goldsticker, Ralph Goldsticker’s son, told the news outlet. “We were very conscious we thought beforehand. Everyone quarantined ahead of time. My brother and sister-in-law in San Francisco got tested before they got on an airplane.”

But at some point, someone contracted the virus and spread it to others.

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“No one was ahead of everybody else to say you were the one,” he told Fox 4 News. “We don’t know where it came from. We all got in from our various places on Friday. Half of us stayed in a hotel, then we were either at my brother’s house who lives in St. Louis or my dad’s house. The only time we left, we went out Saturday night. We had a private room at a restaurant just the 12 of us.”

Goldsticker told the news outlet when he returned, he infected his wife, who did not make the trip, bringing the total number of those sickened to 13. The ages ranged from Goldsticker’s 99-year-old father, down to a 3-year-old grandson. Only one person required hospitalization, but he has since been released.

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Goldsticker said that while everyone has mostly recovered, the family will not be gathering for Thanksgiving this year. Their experience is not unlike another Texas family, who had gathered to celebrate a birthday after being stringent in practicing public health measures.

The family's plight is not unlike that of another Texas group who all contracted the virus after coming together to celebrate a cousin's birthday.

The family's plight is not unlike that of another Texas group who all contracted the virus after coming together to celebrate a cousin's birthday. (iStock)

Alexa Aragonez, who according to the Star-Telegram works for the city of Arlington’s department of communication and legislative affairs, helped coordinate a PSA urging others not to gather for celebrations after 15 of her relatives contracted COVID-19. Aragonez said 12 people attended the party at her relative’s house, all of whom were sickened by the virus, and spread it to three more who did not attend.

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“All this pain that my family is feeling, this loneliness, this sickness, this longing to feel healthy, could have been prevented,” Aragonez said in the video. “Please don’t be like my family and ignore the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines. By staying apart, we can fight this virus together. The cure starts, and ends with you.”