A New Jersey mother whose family has been struck down by the novel coronavirus lost her own fight against the virus on Wednesday night, just hours after her son died and days after her daughter passed away. Grace Fusco, a 73-year-old mother of 11 and grandmother of 27, became the third member of the family to die from COVID-19—and four other family members are still hospitalized with the illness, three of whom are in critical condition. At the time of her death, Fusco was reportedly unaware that her two children had passed away. She was said to be “gravely ill” throughout the day and getting help from a ventilator to breathe. Her son Carmine Fusco died from the virus earlier Wednesday, and her daughter Rita Fusco-Jackson passed away on Friday. The family only learned that Rita had contracted the coronavirus after her death. The fact that the virus spread so rapidly throughout a single family has attracted the attention of health officials, who are said to be evaluating the individuals’ medical histories in a bid to make sense of the situation.
Roseann Paradiso Fodera, the family’s lawyer, told The New York Times that those who died did not have any underlying health conditions. “It is so pitiful,” she said. “They can’t even mourn the way you would.” The family is believed to have been exposed to the virus at a family dinner attended by a person who’d been in contact with the first person to die from COVID-19 in the state.