An Italian-American Christian family lost 4 members to the coronavirus after a family dinner a week ago.
Vincent Fusco’s mother, Grace Fusco, 73, who had 11 children and 27 grandchildren, died from Covid-19 on Wednesday, just hours after it killed another of her sons, Carmine Fusco, of Bath, Pennsylvania. Her oldest son, Rita Fusco–Jackson, 55, from Freehold, died because of the virus on Friday.
Vincent Fusco, the fourth fatality, spent Thursday at the CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, New Jersey.
“This is an unbearable tragedy for the family,” Roseann Paradiso Fodera, a cousin and the attorney representing the Fusco family, told CNN.
New Jersey health officials said the Fusco family’s deaths are related to the death of John Brennan, a horse trainer who lived in Little Ferry. Brennan was the first New Jersey resident to die after testing positive for coronavirus.
The Fusco family has strong ties to the horse racing industry near Freehold Raceway. Officials say one person who had contact with Brennan, who died in New Jersey on March 10, attended a recent Fusco family reunion described by the family as a routine Tuesday dinner. The dinner is the alleged source of the virus.
Vincent Fusco was one of six Fusco family members hospitalized for the coronavirus after attending the dinner, NJ.com reported.
Elizabeth Fusco, the youngest of Grace Fusco’s 11 children, described in an interview with CNN the heartbreaking moments following the dinner.
“It’s absolutely surreal. I woke up on Tuesday morning (March 10) with the 11-year-old baby. My mother called me and said, ‘Lizzie, I don’t feel well, Rita doesn’t feel well, Tony doesn’t feel well. Can you come and help us?’ I said absolutely, ma,” explained Elizabeth.
The three brothers were all in their 50s and it’s still unclear if any of them had any previous pathology.
“It’s like the moment we start crying over one, the phone rings and there’s another person who’s gone, taken away from us forever,” said Elizabeth.
“When we thought about my first sister, we got the next call [and] I heard those doctors and those machines coding my mother on the phone when she died… I’ll never get over it, but I don’t want to hear it again. That’s why we’re asking for help. We don’t want to get that call again because of this. We’re lost,” she said.
A GoFundMe campaign is currently seeking to raise $50,000 to help the Fusco family with medical, funeral and living expenses.
Nineteen other family members, including spouses and children, have also been tested, according to Elizabeth Fusco, a sister who is not hospitalized, as she said on Tuesday. All remain in quarantine.
The 19 who are waiting for their test results “are anxious and don’t know if they are infected or not.”
Tests for family members were conducted Saturday, and results were not available until Thursday.
“Why are the family members who are not hospitalized not getting the test results? This is a public health crisis,” said Paradiso Fodera. “Why should athletes and celebrities without symptoms take priority over a family that has been decimated by this virus,” Fodera concluded.
“The second we start to grieve about one the phone rings and there’s another person gone.”@ChrisCuomo speaks with members of a New Jersey family who lost four relatives and have nearly 20 other relatives in quarantine because of the coronavirus. “We’re just begging for help.” pic.twitter.com/Va8TpbvBMH
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) March 20, 2020