Surviving together: How 10 members of a family in Imus contracted and beat COVID-19

Published May 8, 2021, 11:35 AM

by Noreen Jazul

“Hold on to your faith and be brave.”

This was the advice of Angie Lopez from Imus, Cavite to those who are battling COVID-19 after she and nine other members of her family got infected by the disease.

The Borre-Lopez family
(Angie Lopez / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Lopez and her family’s COVID survival story which she shared last April 14 on Facebook has recently got the attention of netizens.

In an interview with Manila Bulletin, Lopez detailed how her family was able to survive COVID-19.

Aside from her parents and two other siblings, Lopez also lives with her 70-year-old grandmother, her aunt, and seven other cousins, who are all from her mother’s side of the family.

Lopez said the first to contract the disease in her family was her mother who was hospitalized from March 1 to March 13, followed by her Tita Arlene from March 6 to March 10, and then her grandmother, Nanay Belen from March 8 to March 18.

Other members of her family who got infected were her four cousins, her father, and her sibling.

Those who were not infected were the younger members of the family: her cousins aged 15, 13 and 12, and her 7-year-old sibling wHo has congenital heart disease.

Among all her family members, Lopez said her mom was “mostly affected” by COVID-19.

Lopez said COVID-19 affected her mother’s nervous system, adding that her mom never had difficulty in breathing but had extreme headache and seizures.

Her mom is still experiencing headaches every now and then several months after recovery, Lopez said.

“According to her neuro po, may COVID recovered patients po talaga na nagpe-persist pa rin po ang headache at minsan nakakaranas ng pagkalito or nakakalimot pakonti konti. Mahalaga din po talaga na na-mo-monitor pa rin po tayo ng doctors natin even after recovery (According to her neuro[logist], there are recovered COVID patients who experience persistent headache and sometimes confusion or forgetfulness. It’s really important to still be monitored by doctors even after recovery),” Lopez said.

When asked about how and where her family got infected, Lopez said she is unsure but said a week before her mother got hospitalized, her father came back from work-related training.

Lopez said her father actually had fever two days after his return and got tested for COVID-19 but his results turned out negative.

“Palagay po namin ay masyadong maaga lang kaming nagpa-test siguro kaya nag-false positive. Mahalaga din po talaga na tama ang timing kung magpapa RT-PCR. (I think we just had him tested early that’s why it turned out false positive. I think correct timing is very important when one undergoes RT-PCR),” the 24-year-old medical student said.

‘Communication is key’

Lopez said “communication” played a big part in her and her family’s recovery from COVID-19.

“Sa family po namin, nagsasaluhan po kami ng role…ang laking bagay din po talaga ng communication sa family (In our family, we share roles… Communication within the family really played a big role),” she said.

Lopez said all of her family still stayed under one roof during their respective quarantine period.

What they did was separate all positive members of the family and the children who were negative. The 10 positives stayed on the second floor of the house in one room, while the four kids stayed on the first floor.

Angie’s aunt, grandmother, and mother after recovering from COVID-19 (Angie Lopez / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

The positive family members were each other’s guardians and help during their isolation. They monitored each other’s condition, according to Lopez.

Her 15-year-old and 13-year-old cousins were tasked to deliver food to the positive family members.

The two were guided by another aunt of hers named “Tita Dang,” who also handled the family’s outside matters including coordination with the barangay officials and the local government unit.

A month after her family’s recovery, Lopez said all of them are doing fine.

Lopez said seeing almost all of her family members suffering from COVID-19 at the same time was “scary” and caused her much anxiety, but when she “lifted everything to the Lord,” she started to think better and was able to plan what to do next for her family.

“Kapag din po kasi napangunahan tayo ng takot, napansin ko po sa sarili ko na lalo pong humihina ang katawan. (From what I have observed, when fear overtakes us, our body also weakens),” she said.

Lopez meanwhile thanked all of those who helped her and her family in their COVID journey, from their doctors to their neighbors.

The 24-year-old said she is most especially grateful to her neighbors who bought their immediate needs like food and medicine.

“Dinadalhan din po nila kami ng pagkain. Hindi po namin naramdaman na nilalayuan kami, mas naramdaman po namin na willing na willing po silang tumulong habang pinapanatili din po nilang ligtas ang kanilang mga sarili. (They also brought us food. We never felt that they were distancing themselves from us, and we really felt their willingness to help while also making sure that they themselves are safe),” she said.