A California man says he and 27 members of his family tested positive for the coronavirus, including his dad, who succumbed to the illness just before Father’s Day.
Richard Garay told Los Angeles-based TV-station KTLA that he was the first in his family to come down with COVID-19 symptoms last month.
“It went from running nose to headache to full-blown fever,” Garay said.
Soon after, his 60-year-old father Vidal Garay also caught the illness — and his condition quickly worsened.
“It was painful to watch my dad’s health decline so drastically in front of me,” Garay told the outlet.
His last words to his father were: “Dad, I don’t think I’m going to make it.”
But while Garay eventually recovered, his dad didn’t, passing away on June 20, a day before Father’s Day.
It’s unclear how so many people in the family became infected, but Garay thinks it could have been from a relative who visited in mid-May or from his mother’s caretaker, according to CBSLA.
Most of Garay’s relatives who got sick, including his own children and his brother’s pregnant wife, have also recovered.
But Garay said he is sharing his family’s story as a cautionary tale for people to take measures to protect themselves and their loved ones against the virus.
“I don’t want my father’s death to be in vain,” he said. “I want people to understand coronavirus is a real thing.”