In Cardiff, Wales, a man’s entire family dies of Covid in the same week, highlighting the perils of choosing not to receive the vaccine. Francis Goncalves’ family, who are Portuguese natives, resisted receiving the vaccine out of fear of possible side effects. According to WalesOnline, they were frightened due to potential misinformation they had heard within their community, leading them to make the decision to forgo the vaccine altogether.
Goncalves recounts that father Basil, 73, mother Charmagne, 65, and brother Shaul, 40, began feeling unwell on the weekend of July 10th, a few days after gathering for a family meal. Concerned by their symptoms, each member took a Covid-19 test, received positive results, and died, all within one week of each other. All in all, the time from the onset of symptoms until all three had passed away was less than two weeks.
Gonsalves is determined to use his family’s story to help combat deadly misinformation and encourage others to receive their shots without being put off by possible conspiracy theories. Sharing how quickly Covid took his family is Goncalves’s way of giving their deaths meaning.
Describing the events leading to the tragic week, Goncalves recalls, “Dad went to hospital on July 6th for kidney stones, we think he picked Covid up there. On Thursday, July 8th, my parents had dinner at my brother’s apartment he shares with his girlfriend, and they started to feel very ill that weekend.
“My parents were really ill at the time as well. They went through to the hospital, and I had a text from my father that afternoon saying they’ve been admitted into the hospital because they have both tested positive. That was on July 12th.”
Due to being so far away, the 43-year-old had difficulty receiving updates on his family’s condition until July 14th, when Goncalves learned his father, who had underlying health issues, was moved to the ICU. At that point, the health of his other family members began deteriorating as well, and Goncalves booked a flight to be with them in Portugal.
Although communication was limited, Goncalves was able to speak with his brother, who was also finding it difficult to reach their parents. During these conversations, he learned his brother’s mucus had changed from green to brown, a sign of pneumonia, and his health began quickly deteriorating. As he awaited the required Covid test results for travel, Goncalves received word his brother was rushed to the hospital. He recalls, “On the Saturday (July 17th), I had a message at 8:08 pm to say Shaul had been rushed off to hospital in an ambulance,” he said. “I spoke to his girlfriend, and she was really worried. Then, at about 1 am, I received a call from her saying she had been told he had passed away that evening.”
The news shocked Goncalves, who describes his brother as the “healthiest person” he knew, who loved exercising and eating healthily. With the passing of his brother, Goncalves had no way to reach his parents, forcing him to reach out to a law firm that contacted the hospital and forwarded his contact details. On July 20th, the hospital called to say his father had died.
The following day, Goncalves arrived in Portugal, where he planned to meet up with his mom and make arrangements for his father and brothers’ funerals, only to find her struggling with the effects of the virus herself. Due to an underlying autoimmune condition, her health was failing rapidly, and the prognosis wasn’t good. Goncalves recounts the time. “On the Wednesday, I traveled through to Portugal after getting my PCR test results, and I managed to find out more about my mother. She was also in an induced coma. They allowed me to go and see her, which was already a sign that things weren’t going well, and I had to dress up in full PPE.
“Then, on the Saturday, July 24th, I received a phone call from the doctor saying they were in a situation where they had tried everything and the next couple of hours would be critical. Later that evening, I received a call to say she had passed away.”
After burying his family, Goncalves is determined to stop this from happening to others. He believes the story of how an entire family dies of Covid in one week can help educate and encourage vaccinations that will save lives.