A Florida father is fighting for his life after contracting coronavirus from his son, who tested positive after ignoring his parents’ advice to stay home and not gather with friends.
John Place, from Plantation, is currently in the intensive care unit at Westside Regional Medical Center where he was put on a ventilator for more than two weeks.
The 42-year-old and his family all tested positive for COVID-19 last month after his 21-year-old son went out with friends one night and unknowingly brought the respiratory virus back to their home.
Place however, was the only who required hospitalization after four days of fever and nonstop coughing. He has now been in the hospital for nearly three weeks.
His wife Michelle Zymet said she had repeatedly pleaded with her stepson, who was not named, to avoid going out with friends and to always wear a mask.
John Place, 42, from Plantation, Florida has been in the intensive care unit at Westside Regional Medical Center for nearly three weeks after falling seriously ill with COVID-19
Place (far left) and his family all tested positive last month after his 21-year-old son unknowingly brought the virus back to their home after going out with friends
‘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,’ Zymet told 7 News Miami.
She said she begged him to think about his dad, who is at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness because he is overweight and diabetic.
But despite her pleas, he went out against her wishes one night in June, when he gathered with friends and removed his mask while eating and drinking.
Days later, he felt cold symptoms and a friend at the get-together told him she had tested positive for coronavirus. By then, it already had taken hold in the young man’s household.
‘You let your guard down just one time, it’s all it takes,’ Zymet added. ‘You come home, and you infect the entire house.’
The illness’s spread among members of the family highlights the outcome dreaded by authorities who feared the recent surge of cases hitting younger Floridians would spread to older, more vulnerable people.
‘They don’t necessarily listen. It could be peer pressure,’ Zymet said.
‘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.’
Place, who is overweight and diabetic, required hospitalization after four days of fever and nonstop coughing
Zymet’s friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the family as they brace to handle hefty medical bills
The young man, who did not want to talk to the media, had told his father and stepmother that he initially thought he had a common cold and took over-the-counter medication.
When he heard about his friend testing positive for coronavirus, he still didn’t think he had it.
But members of the family started to fall ill one by one, starting with his 14-year-old brother, who is also overweight and was wheezing, coughing and lethargic.
The six-year-old sister had only a runny nose. The stepmother was achy, with a fever and chills.
Zymet and her children have since started to recover from the virus, but her husband remains in serious condition in the ICU.
With Place unable to work at his photo booth business, Zymet’s friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the family as they brace to handle hefty medical bills.
Zymet said she has been called an ‘awful mother,’ and an ‘evil witch’ for placing the blame on the stepson, but she said she thought it was important to share her family’s story amid a surge of infections first detected among young people.
Wife Michelle Zymet (left) says she had begged her stepson to be cautious for his father, but he still went out against her wishes
About 95 percent of hospitals in the City of Miami have reached capacity, Mayor Francis Suarez said on Thursday
South Florida mayors gathered earlier this week with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and told him that gatherings of young people were a key factor in the rise in cases that emerged in June in their region.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said younger people were celebrating the end of school or college, in some cases joining street protests and otherwise just getting together at house parties, underground venues and restaurants that converted themselves into bars late at night in violation of the rules.
With so many close-knit, multigenerational families in the community, spread to older members of families seemed inevitable, he said.
‘Since the young kids started infecting each other, now we see the results as more older folks are now going into the hospital,’ Gimenez said Tuesday.
‘Exactly what we feared – that they were going to take it to their parents, that they were going to take it to their grandparents.’
On Wednesday, Florida passed the 300,000 mark of confirmed coronavirus cases and has been averaging about 96 deaths per day – more than triple the rate it was about a month ago.
Zymet and her family have been isolating at home, and Place was on a ventilator for more than two weeks.
She says her stepson has been helping taking care of the younger children and researching the disease while she juggles work in between calls to the hospital, nurses and doctors.
She said the younger generation ‘won’t know until it hits home.’
‘This has definitely brought us together,’ she added. ‘We could have eventually gotten this disease somewhere else. But it is the unfortunate truth that he did bring it home.’