Thomas Macias, a 51-year-old man from California, was being cautious in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Then when restrictions were lifted, he decided to go out, Macias's brother-in-law, Gus Lopez, told CBS News. He later said he regretted it, when he tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a party.
Macias wrote a poignant Facebook post about his regret, urging others to follow safety precautions and take the coronavirus pandemic seriously. One day after writing the post, he died, his family says.
Lopez said Macias, a truck driver from Lake Elsinore, had an underlying condition and was being very cautious. "He had diabetes, so he was doing everything he could to stay isolated, he would wear is mask if he had to go out," Lopez said.
"Then when he heard restrictions were being lifted, things were becoming more lenient, a friend of his put together a barbecue. So he said, 'Okay this is my chance to see my friends.'"
That party was in the beginning of June, according to Lopez. Around June 11, Macias visited Lopez and his sister. "We could see he was not feeling well, he was a little sweaty," Lopez said. "He just thought it was related to his diabetes."
Macias then got a call from a friend from the party, who said they were COVID-19 positive. "He said, 'Maybe everyone should get tested,'" Lopez said. According to Lopez, this friend knew they had coronavirus at the party, but were asymptomatic and didn't think anything of it at the time.
On June 18, Macias' coronavirus test results came back positive. Two days later, he posted about it on Facebook. "I f***ed up and went out a couple of weeks ago and I contracted the coronavirus," the post read, according to a screenshot taken by Lopez.
"Because of my stupidity I put my mom and sisters and my family's health in jeopardy. This has been a very painful experience," his post continued. "This is no joke. If you have to go out wear a mask and practice social distancing."
Macias was taken to the hospital in an ambulance on June 21 and put on a ventilator. He died that day.
Macias' family members do not believe they caught coronavirus from him, Lopez said. One member of the family got tested and the results came back negative. However, Macias "felt he had put his family in jeopardy," according to Lopez.
"At first, from what he told us, he was upset at this person that went out knowing that he had this virus. Then he said that quickly turned into anger at himself for having put himself in that situation to begin with," Lopez said.
Lopez said Macias wrote the post because he wanted to warn other people. "He had so many friends that he wanted to make sure they all knew what he was going through, and that they could avoid it," Lopez said. He added that, in sharing Macias' story, he hopes to continue to show people how serious the coronavirus is.
"This kills people. People should follow the guidelines that are out there – not because the government is asking us to, but because the doctors and the experts, people who really know what they're talking about, are saying it," he said.
"He would be extremely happy right now knowing that what happened to him could potentially help other people from getting sick or dying," Lopez said.
First published on July 2, 2020 / 1:04 PM
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