A British family is urging people to take social distancing measures seriously after 17 of its members apparently caught the coronavirus at the funeral of a relative who died of the illness, according to a report.
Almost the entire extended family of Sheila Brooks, 86, who died Feb. 9, attended her funeral two weeks ago — and within days, her niece Susan Nelson, 65, who had no underlying health issues, also died, South West News Service reported.
Before long, 16 other relatives fell ill, including Nelson’s husband, daughter Amanda, 34, a niece and a great-uncle, after attending the service in Yardley Wood, according to the news outlet.
“It was my [great] aunt’s funeral so a lot of the wider family were there,” said Amanda, who also suffers from Addison’s disease, an adrenal insufficiency, and is isolating at home.
“She died back in February, but we have just had so many people contract the virus that I can only think it was from then. We now have someone else in our family in hospital that’s probably not going to survive it,” she continued.
“My 21-year-old cousin has it, right the way up to a great-uncle that is 88 and is showing some symptoms. It’s a whole section of us, none of us seems to have been missed out of it just yet. It’s a bit strange,” she said.
“I would say around 17 family members have been displaying symptoms since going to that funeral. It’s hit young and old in our family,” Amanda added.
“Our beautiful, caring mum was the center of the family. We are a very close, large family and this has destroyed us.”
Nelson’s son Carl, 42, said she was admitted at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on March 23.
“She was coughing a lot, very breathless and showing all the traditional symptoms,” he said. “They said the next 48 hours were critical before they called me back a few hours later to say it was very close to the end and one member of the family could be with her.
“Because I had none of the symptoms, I couldn’t go and my sister was too unwell battling the illness herself,” he said. “People can end up dying on their own. Fortunately, my dad Robert was able to go and be with her when she died.”
Carl added: “We can’t have any other families to go through what we are going through at the moment.
“It’s about getting the message out. It’s about seeing the faces of loved ones and thinking this is real,” he added.