Michelle Zymet has pleaded with her stepson for weeks to stop going out with friends and wearing a mask at all times.
“It’s just not the time,” the woman says she told him, begging him to think about his dad, who is at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness because he is overweight and diabetic.
The young man went out against her wishes one evening in early June, gathered with friends and removed his mask as he was eating and drinking. He experienced cold symptoms days later and a friend at the get-together told him she had been tested positive for the new coronavirus. By then it had already taken interest in the household of the young man.
The father of the kid, John Place, 42, is now fighting the virus at the intensive care unit of a hospital.
“They don’t necessarily listen. It could be peer pressure,” said Zymet, 42. “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.”
The young man, who did not want to speak to the media, had told his father and stepmother that he mistakenly believed he had a common cold and took medicine over-the-counter. He also did not think he had it when he learned of his friend testing positive for the new coronavirus.
But family members began falling ill one by one, starting with his brother, 14, who is also overweight and was wheezing, coughing and lethargic.
The stepmother was achy, with chills and fever. After four days of fever and nonstop coughing, they all tested positive but only Place, the father, needed hospitalisation.
He has been almost three weeks in hospital now.