A California family is grieving the loss of a 51-year-old man who died after contracting COVID-19 at a barbecue in June.
Thomas “Tommy” Macias of Lake Elsinore, California, died June 21, three days after testing positive for the coronavirus. Just one day before his death, he posted an emotional note on social media in which he urged others to practice social distancing measures to protect themselves against COVID-19.
“Because of my stupidity I put my mom and my sisters and my family’s health in jeopardy,” Macias wrote in a June 20 Facebook post, a screenshot of which was posted by NBC. “This has been a very painful experience.”
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“This is no joke,” he added. “If you have to go out wear a mask and practice social distancing. Don’t be a fucking idiot like me.”
Niece Danielle Lopez said Macias ― who was diabetic ― took the pandemic seriously in the months leading up to his diagnosis and death. Her uncle decided to attend the barbecue, which took place a few weeks before his June 20 post, because he was convinced the virus’s threat was easing, she added.
“He wore masks,” Lopez told the Valley News in an interview published Monday. “He wasn’t really going out anywhere, which is why, when everything started becoming more lenient, and he thought it was OK to go out, immediately went to spend time with his friends because he thought it was OK. But before that, he was only going out when he absolutely needed to; he wore his mask religiously, and he was taking all the precautions that he could.”
According to Lopez, guests at the party her uncle attended didn’t wear masks. He decided to get tested after receiving word from another attendee who had been diagnosed with COVID-19. It’s unclear if other party guests have since tested positive.
News of Macias’s death comes as California Gov. Gavin Newsom is reversing his state’s course for reopening in the wake of a troubling surge in COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday, he shut down bars, wineries and indoor restaurant dining across most of the state.
By Thursday afternoon, there had been more than 241,000 cases of coronavirus in California and 6,192 deaths, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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