Thomas Macias wrote on Facebook that he felt guilty about putting his family's lives at risk to attend a barbecue with friends.

By Rachel DeSantis
July 02, 2020
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Thomas Macias
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A California man who attended a barbecue with friends shared an emotional letter one day before he died of coronavirus, in which he expressed regret over breaking social distancing guidelines and encouraged people to wear masks.

Thomas Macias visited with friends in Lake Elsinore, outside Los Angeles, in June, and shortly after, began feeling sick, according to CNN.

He reportedly tested positive for coronavirus on June 18, wrote a Facebook message two days later lamenting his “stupidity,” which he said put his family members in danger.

“I f---ed up and went out a couple of weeks ago and I contracted the coronavirus,” Macias, 51, wrote, NBC News reported. “Because of my stupidity I put my mom and sisters and my family’s health in jeopardy. This has been a very painful experience.”

Macias continued with a plea for his Facebook friends to take warnings from health officials seriously.

“This is no joke. If you have to go out wear a mask and practice social distancing. Don’t be a f---ing idiot like me,” he wrote. “Hopefully with God’s help I’ll be able to survive this.”

Macias died one day after sharing his post.

Macias, who worked as a truck driver, had diabetes, which is among the conditions that put him at an increased risk for a severe illness from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

His brother-in-law Gustavo Lopez told CNN that prior to the barbecue, Macias had been good about social distancing, but decided to attend because he felt isolated.

“Everywhere he went he made friends instantly. He was missing his friends and missing his family,” he said. “So as soon as they lifted some of the restrictions he felt free and he unfortunately went to this get-together to be with his friends and then this was the result.”

Shortly after the gathering, a friend who’d also attended reached out to tell Macias that he had coronavirus. Lopez said the friend was aware of his diagnosis when he went to the barbecue, but did not think he could infect anyone because he had no symptoms.

“I think the gentleman was regretting not telling everybody, and he was calling people who were at the party to recommend they get tested,” said Lopez, who estimated that about a dozen people who went also tested positive.

Lopez, who is married to Macias’ sister Veronica, told NBC News that his brother-in-law was a kind person who “would do anything for everybody.”

He added that in sharing the message, Macias hoped he could help people realize that the virus “is a real thing” capable of killing people.

As of Thursday afternoon, there have been at least 239,764 cases and 6,168 deaths attributed to coronavirus in California, according to The New York Times. The state recorded its highest one-day total of new infections on June 30, with 8,158. The U.S., meanwhile, has seen at least 2.7 million cases and 128,103 deaths.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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This Story Originally Appeared On people