This family learned the hard way that slipping up even once can result in a major risk and nobody can ensure if it won't turn into a tragedy.
While most people are trying their best to stay vigilant and indoors so that there is lesser risk of getting infected by COVID-19, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world, there are some who don't take this seriously. It's not always possible to keep everything under control and people might make a mistake. Young people, especially, are finding it hard to stay indoors and are venturing out, sometimes without masks, even when it puts their families at risk.
Unfortunately, a 42-year-old father from Plantation, Florida is now fighting for his life as his 21-year-old son didn't listen to his parents and ventured out to meet his friends. The young man was with some friends spending time indoors without knowing that one of his friends was positive. Soon after, he started experiencing symptoms and was told by his friend that she was positive for the virus. Only then he "felt it necessary" to let his family know that they should all get tested and that there was a good chance they were infected.
Initially, Nick, 21, had felt cold symptoms and took over-the-counter medicines. Then, members of his family started falling sick one by one. After him, his 14-year-old brother, experienced wheezing, coughing, and lethargy. Then their 6-year-old sister had a runny nose. Nick's stepmom Michelle Zymet felt body pain with fever and chills.
"He was scared and of course it took courage for him to come forward and tell his dad this, but once he saw that his brother started to feel sick as well days later, he started putting two and two together and this is the conclusion that we have come too," wrote Michelle, on Facebook. "In no way, shape or form am I trying to bash my stepson or put this immense amount of guilt on him for what has happened. He is aware that he has made a mistake and that he, unfortunately, allowed his guard to come down once or twice and that this is a possible consequence of his actions.￼ He feels terrible for what has happened and just wants others not to make the same mistake he did!" she added.
The family recently celebrated Nick's birthday together even as his father, John Place, fights for his life in the hospital. John was the only one in the family, who needed to be hospitalized. The rest of the family has been recovering at home.
Michelle had repeatedly pleaded the 21-year-old to not go out and to wear a mask, both of which he didn't heed. "He always assured me, 'Don't worry, mom. I'm doing everything right, relax, chill.' You know how these kids are, so I trusted in him," the stepmom told 7 News Miami. She had told Nick that his father was at a higher risk since he is overweight and diabetic, as per Daily Mail.
"They don't necessarily listen. It could be peer pressure," Michelle told 7 News Miami. "Maybe they think, "None of us are sick. We are fine." They don't understand many of us are asymptomatic and are positive carriers of the virus," she added.
John remains in a serious condition in the ICU and has been on the ventilator for close to two weeks. His status changed only on July 16. "I am happy to report that although he is not in the clear yet John has gone from a 10 to a 9, from a ventilator to a BiPAP machine which is a miracle unto itself!!! Yes this means he is off the Ventilator. However, the Doctor has told us that we’re not out of the woods yet," said Ashley Berlin, who is hosting a fundraiser for the family onGoFundMe.
John runs a photo booth and with him out of work, Michelle is the sole earner. The stepmom has been branded an "evil witch" and "awful mom" for criticizing her stepson's actions but she continues to provide for the family and share her family's story so nobody repeats this mistake.
She said that Nick has been helping taking care of the younger children while she tries to get work done and attends calls from the hospital, nurses, and doctors. This mom believes that the youth "won't know until it hits home. This has definitely brought us together. We could have eventually gotten this disease somewhere else. But it is the unfortunate truth that he did bring it home."