While the COVID-19 virus continues to claim many victims across the United States, one churchgoing New Jersey family has been left in tatters after losing four loved ones in the space of a week.
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On Wednesday night, 73-year-old Grace Fusco died from the illness just hours after her son, Carmine, succumbed to the same fate. Five days prior, Fusco’s daughter Rita Fusco-Jackson had perished after contracting the disease. Then, on Thursday, yet more devastation — another of Grace’s children, Vincent Fusco, fell victim to the virus.
According to the family’s lawyer, three more children have been hospitalized and one remains critical condition. It is an unprecedented single-family outbreak that has resulted in 20 relatives being confined to self-isolation.
“If they’re not on a respirator, they’re quarantined,” Ms. Paradiso Fodera told the New York Times. “It is so pitiful.”
One of Grace Fusco’s grandchildren, Gabba Gunga, took to Facebook in a bid and expressed the pain of having to self-isolate after the tragic deaths.
“We can’t mourn together, we can’t be together, when thats all we ever are, is together,” she wrote, before eliciting prayers for her wider family.
“Please pray for the other 4 members of our family still in the hospital,” Grace wrote, adding that the group continued to “fight for their lives.”
“We can’t even visit them,” she added. “Hug your family, take advantage of this time together, my family wishes we could be you!”
Rita’s sister Elizabeth Fusco said that many additional family members had undergone tests for the virus and were waiting on the results.
“We are waiting on 19 tests of spouses and children of the hospitalized victims, who were all in contact on March 10 or later,” Fusco told NJ.com.
“To imagine a week ago to get a phone call like this — if someone told me this story, I wouldn’t believe it,” she added. “It’s inconceivable to me.”
Grace’s cousin, Roseann Paradiso Fodera, added to the outlet that the entire extended family will need to lean on their faith at this horrific time.
“It’s completely devastating,” she said. “They will need the faith they’ve always embraced to get them through this overwhelming shock and profound grief.”
On Thursday, the New Jersey Department of Health was reporting 742 positive cases of COVID-19 across the state. So far, nine deaths have been recorded.
Do keep the entire extended family in your prayers at this devastating time.