A Florida father contracted COVID-19 from his son, who ignored his stepmother’s wishes to stay home to avoid picking up the deadly virus, leaving him hospitalized for nearly three weeks.
Michelle Zymet, of Plantation, told WSVN her 21-year-old stepson – who was not identified – ignored her wishes to not attend large gatherings last month and went to a friend’s house.
“I pleaded with him every time he left the house, ‘Please wear your mask, take sanitizer, make sure you’re constantly washing your hands,’” Zymet told the station. “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’s stepson did wear the mask to his friend’s house, but took it off at some point, she said. The stepson didn’t believe he had COVID-19, even after showing cold symptoms, and one of his friends from the party tested positive.
The decision ultimately led to four relatives – including the couple’s 14-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter — being infected with the coronavirus. Zymet’s husband, John Place, is a 42-year-old diabetic whom doctors say has a higher risk of serious illness because he’s also overweight.
“You let your guard down just one time, it’s all it takes,” Zymet, also 42, told the station Tuesday. “You come home, and you infect the entire house.”
Weeks later, Zymet and the couple’s three children have recovered, but Place remains in an intensive care unit at Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, where he had been on a ventilator for two weeks.
Place’s condition improved Thursday and he was removed from a ventilator, Zymet posted on Facebook.
“However, the doctor has told us that we’re not out of the woods yet and there is always the possibility that he may have to go back on the ventilator or other problems may arise but this is definitely some positive news,” Zymet wrote.
Place is still “very fragile,” uncomfortable and unable to move around, his wife said.
Zymet said the frightening experience shows that younger Floridians “don’t necessarily” listen to health authorities who fear the state’s current surge of cases could spread to more vulnerable residents.
“It could be peer pressure,” Zymet said Thursday. “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 this virus.”