A California man posted his regret on Facebook about contracting the coronavirus after he attended a party in June. A day later, he died from COVID-19.
On June 20, Thomas Macias, wrote an impassioned message on Facebook in which he lamented ignoring social distancing guidance.
IMAGE: Thomas Macias
“Some of you may know, but most don’t,” Macias, 51, wrote. “I … went out a couple of weeks ago” and contracted the coronavirus.
Macias, who was a truck driver, expressed guilt for having possibly exposed his family to the virus.
“Because of my stupidity I put my mom and sisters and my family’s health in jeopardy,” he wrote. “This has been a very painful experience.”
“Hopefully with God’s help,” he added, “I’ll be able to survive this.”
He died the next day.
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An official from the Riverside County Office of Vital Records told NBC News on Wednesday that Macias died from COVID-19.
From late March through early June, Macias was going out only when necessary, Gustavo Lopez, his brother-in-law, said in a phone interview Wednesday.
“He was quarantining because he was overweight and had diabetes,” Lopez said.
IMAGE: Thomas Facias’ Facebook post (Courtesy Gustavo Lopez)
Lopez said that sometime in early June, however — after Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated that he would loosen social distancing restrictions — Macias attended a party in Lake Elsinore, about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles, where he lived.
Afterward, a friend of Macias’ who was also at the party contacted him to say he had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, Lopez said.
The friend told Macias that he was aware of the diagnosis when he attended the gathering but that because he was not showing symptoms, he did not believe he could infect anyone else.
The friend advised everyone who attended the party to get tested.
Naturally, Lopez said, Macias was upset. Still, he said, Macias took accountability for his actions, as evidenced in his Facebook post.
Lopez said that he was unsure how many people went to the party but that Macias was among more than a dozen people who contracted COVID-19.
Macias visited his sister Veronica, who is married to Lopez, at the couple’s home on June 11, before he was tested. Lopez remembers being concerned for Macias after the visit.
“He did not look right,” Lopez said. “He was really sweaty.”
Macias, who did not marry and did not have children, soon started to feel sick and believed it was related to his diabetes.
He was tested for COVID-19 on June 16 and received a positive diagnosis on June 18. In his Facebook post two days later, Macias implored people to take the coronavirus seriously.
“This is no joke,” he wrote. “If you have to go out wear a mask and practice social distancing.”
He was rushed to the hospital at about 11 a.m. on June 21. He was put on a ventilator sometime from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and died by 9 p.m., Lopez said.
“I think what he wanted people to know, this is a real thing,” Lopez said. “It’s serious, and it kills people.”
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Macias is remembered by his family as a “good guy” with a lot of friends.
“He would do anything for everybody,” Lopez said. “No questions asked.”
He is survived by his mother, two sisters, four nieces and two great-nieces.
Veronica Lopez said her brother always greeted people with a smile and was not one to hold a grudge.
“He used to say opinions don’t matter, relationships do,” Lopez said.