Coronavirus sweeps through New Jersey family of eight due to single act of charity

Graig Graziosi
·2-min read
<p>A Covid-19 patient room in Van Wert County, Ohio</p> ((AFP via Getty Images))

A Covid-19 patient room in Van Wert County, Ohio

((AFP via Getty Images))

An act of charity led to a fatal outbreak of coronavirus through a New Jersey household.

Sofia Burke, a nurse, took care of numerous Covid-19 patients and took pains to avoid bringing the virus back home to her family. Neither she nor her family became sick as a result of her work.

NorthJersey.com of the USA Today network first reported the story.

In November, Ms Burke's mother gave an elderly friend a ride home. The friend had a cough, and - unbeknownst to the mother - was infected with the coronavirus.

Ms Burke's mother contracted the virus, and it spread through her family. By Thanksgiving, all eight members of her family had caught the virus.

Since then, Ms Burke's father has died of the virus. Her mother had to be hospitalised and was discharged after six days. She is still on supplemental oxygen.

Ms Burke's husband, brother and three children - aged 2, 6 and 20 - are recovering or still being treated for the virus.

Even Ms Burke - who had managed to avoid infection despite working with Covid-19 patients - became infected. She is still being treated in the hospital.

Ms Burke - who spent Thanksgiving in the hospital - said she was thankful for the care she was receiving in the hospital.

“I want to say thank you to this hospital for everything they have done for me and my family,” she said via phone, the lower half of her face encased in an oxygen mask. “I want to say thank you to all the front-line people working so hard,” she said.

Ms Burke said after they discovered their mother had been exposed, the family did its best to protect their 93-year-old father.

“We tried to wear masks in the house and did everything we could to keep my father safe,” she said.

Ms Burke, her mother and her son tried to quarantine in a room to protect him, but the group caught the virus as a result.

The 43-year-old nurse said she was healthy before contracting the virus, but said she is struggling to fully recover.

“I’m not getting any better,” she said. “Mentally, I feel good. But my lungs feel stuck. It’s like you’re gasping for air when you do any activity.”

Ms Burke said the hardest part of her experience has been her inability to fully mourn the loss of her father.

“I think it hasn’t fully hit me that he’s gone, really gone,” she said. “With my shortness of breath, I couldn’t even cry. Every time I cry, my oxygen goes down.”

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