New Jersey family saw five die of Covid after they gathered for dinner at the start of the pandemic


New Jersey family who lost five members to COVID at the start of the pandemic after a family dinner say they were only guilty of ‘being close knit’

  • Grace Fusco and her 11 children would normally eat large classic Italian family meals in Freehold Township, New Jersey 
  • ‘The only thing we are guilty of is being a close-knit family, where we always together,’ her son, Joe, explained 
  • By the next week, Grace and six of her children were in the hospital  
  • Rita, Grace’s daughter, was the first to die at age 56
  • Five days later, Rita’s 55-year-old brother Carmine and their 73-year-old mother Grace died
  • The next day, their 55-year-old brother Vinny
  • Their aunt Maria died a month later and at the same time, Joe and Toni were in the hospital also battling COVID
  • Both Toni and Joe survived 

A New Jersey family that lost five loved ones in the early days of the pandemic after gathering for a dinner declared that they were only guilty of ‘being a close-knit family’ that was ‘always together.

Grace Fusco and her 11 children would normally eat large classic Italian family meals in Freehold Township, New Jersey. 

‘The only thing we are guilty of is being a close-knit family, where we always together,’ her son, Joe, explained to CBS News.

Coronavirus hadn’t even crossed their minds as they ate their last meal together. 

Grace Fusco (middle) and her 11 children would normally eat large classic Italian family meals in Freehold Township, New Jersey.

Four of the five family members who died (left to right circled): Vinny, Carmine, Rita and Grace Fusco

Four of the five family members who died (left to right circled): Vinny, Carmine, Rita and Grace Fusco 

‘Unbeknownst to us, we were spreading this horrible disease to people — to us in our family,’ Joe added. 

‘Not a thought in any of our minds,’ his sister, Toni, shared.  

By the next week, Grace and six of her children were in the hospital.   

‘And before you knew it, Mom, Carmine, Vinny they were all on a ventilator,’ her daughter, Adrienne, said.

Grace and her children pictured during in a holiday photo. From left to right circled: Carmine, Grace, Vinny and Rita Fusco

Grace and her children pictured during in a holiday photo. From left to right circled: Carmine, Grace, Vinny and Rita Fusco

Grace's sister Maria died a month after the other members of her family

Grace’s sister Maria died a month after the other members of her family

Their sister, Rita, was the first to die at age 56. Five days later, their 55-year-old brother Carmine and their 73-year-old mother Grace died. The next day, their 53-year-old brother Vinny died.

Their aunt Maria died a month later and at the same time, Joe and Toni were in the hospital also battling COVID. 

‘I was petrified of everything. Cause in my mind, I’m thinking, “I’m gonna die. We’re all just gonna die. and they’re just gonna take our whole family,”‘ Toni said.

Joe sent Toni a text telling her that he was going on a ventilator and that he couldn’t breathe.   

‘I just remember pounding into my head over and over to myself, ‘You’ve got to wake up. You have to wake up,” Joe said.

Joe finally woke up 30 days later. 

‘I’m lucky. I’m lucky to be alive,’ Joe added. 

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