Thomas Macias, 51, went to a party once quarantine restrictions were lifted in his area. Up until then, his brother-in-law Gus Lopez told CBS News, he’d been carefully isolating.
“He had diabetes, so he was doing everything he could to stay isolated; he would wear his mask if he had to go out,” Lopez told the publication.
“Then when he heard restrictions were being lifted, things were becoming more lenient, a friend of his put together a barbecue. So he said, ‘OK this is my chance to see my friends.'”
But after the mid-June party, Macias started to feel ill.
“We could see he was not feeling well,” Lopez said. “He was a little sweaty. He just thought it was related to his diabetes.”
After getting a call from one of the partygoers saying they’d tested positive for the respiratory virus, Macias decided to get tested, too.
It came back positive on June 18.
According to NBC News, the friend was aware of their diagnosis prior to attending the gathering. They weren’t showing symptoms and therefore believed they couldn’t infect anyone else.
Two days later, Macias expressed his regret on Facebook, writing: “I f–ked up and went out a couple of weeks ago and I contracted the coronavirus.”
“Because of my stupidity, I put my mom and sisters and my family’s health in jeopardy. This has been a very painful experience,” his post continued, according to a screenshot taken by Lopez. “This is no joke. If you have to go out, wear a mask and practice social distancing.”
On June 21, Macias was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and put on a ventilator. He died later that day.
A Riverside County Office of Vital Records official confirmed to NBC News that Macias died of COVID-19.
Macias, a truck driver, never married or had kids. He’s survived by his mother, two sisters, four nieces and two great-nieces.
“He would do anything for everybody,” Lopez said. “No questions asked.”
A GoFundMe has been created to raise money for funeral costs. So far, it’s raised more than US$15,000 of the $10,000 goal.
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