Update: 12:38 PM EST (March 20, 2020) – On Thursday (March 19), another family member who had contracted the virus, Vincent Fusco, has also died.
The original published article below…
An Italian-American family in New Jersey who have lost multiple members to the coronavirus believe quicker test results could have saved their relatives’ lives.
Speaking with The New York Times Wednesday (March 18) Grace Fusco and two of her children, Rita Fusco-Jackson and Carmine Fusco died within days of each other of the virus. The matriarch, 73, tragically died hours after her son and five days after her daughter’s death.
Fusco died after spending days on a ventilator and was unaware of her children’s passing, the family’s spokesperson Paradiso Fodera said. Fusco had 11 children and 27 grandchildren and would often have big family gatherings. It was a recent family dinner that seemed to be where the virus spread, with a friend of the family passing on March 10 from the virus.
New Jersey’s health commissioner, Judith M. Persichilli stressed the importance of limiting gatherings and practicing social distance. “I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take personal responsibility and to avoid even small gatherings,” Persichilli said.
But the Fusco family believes a faster route to tests could have saved the lives of their relatives. Fusco-Jackson died the day before her test for coronavirus came back positive on Saturday (March 14). “They didn’t treat her as a confirmed case because everything is so delayed,” Ms. Paradiso Fodera said. “It’s a big bureaucracy. The testing result time is important.”
The family wants officials at CentraState, a midsize hospital where the family was treated and the CDC to conduct an autopsy to study the virus. Currently, the rest of the family are self-isolating themselves in their homes. They were all devoted members of the Roman Catholic Church where Monsignor Sirianni spoke highly of the family and expressed what should happen next.
“It means I turn to the Lord even more,” Monsignor Sirianni said. “What came to mind last week was. ‘Lord save your people.’ And that’s been one of my mantras when I go to pray.”