It spreads so fast; COVID-19 hits 15 family members

spreads so fast

As Alicia Nava flipped through family photographs the morning of July 25, she said solemnly from behind a floral print mask, “We were taking precautions.”

Three weeks before, she was in the hospital battling COVID-19, as were five of her relatives.

Three remain hospitalized for the virus, including her father, Adolfo, who has been on life support for nearly a month. In total, 15 members of the Nava family across five households have tested positive for COVID-19.

“It just happened. It spreads so fast,” she told The Catholic Messenger, newspaper of the Diocese of Davenport.

The adults in the family decided early on in the pandemic to take precautions outside the home such as mask-wearing, hand-washing and sanitizing.

They also refrained from gathering as an extended family, something they did often before the pandemic.

They encouraged their teenage and young adult children to do the same. “Young people don’t always listen,” Nava said.

She believes the virus started with a teenage niece who had been visiting family members while unknowingly infected.

She was the first to develop symptoms, although they were mild.

Shortly after, Nava’s daughter, Melina, developed a slight cough. Then, Alicia Nava began to experience a sore throat and a headache.

“Four days later, I started to develop a fever, nausea and stomach distress. I started having pain in my diaphragm. I was concerned and told my husband we probably have COVID. That’s when we found out my niece had tested positive,” Nava said.

Everyone in Alicia Nava’s household eventually tested positive, with the exception of her eldest son and his family, who temporarily moved out of the home to break the chain of transmission.

A study published June 17 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal reports that even those who practice precautions such as mask-wearing and social distancing outside the home are vulnerable to contracting the illness within their own homes.

The disease spreads easily among people who live together and other family members, even before an infected person shows symptoms.

The disease has infected Nava’s family members ranging in age from 13 to 77.

The symptoms and severity of the virus have varied among family members.

Nava’s sister Estela is undergoing physical therapy to cope with weakness in her diaphragm.

Nava assumed her mother, Victoriana, would have the most severe case due to preexisting conditions, but she is recovering at home without major complications. Although Nava, 38, is considered recovered, her heart rate elevates to abnormal levels at times. Continue reading

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