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California GOP Consultant Rues ‘Big Mistake’ That Led to Family’s COVID Infections

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SACRAMENTO — The tweet Richard Costigan posted July 23 was bluntly sincere: “We tried our best to limit exposure to #COVID19 but we slipped up somewhere.”

Costigan tweeted whereas ready anxiously within the parking zone of a hospital outdoors Sacramento. The veteran Republican political marketing consultant had simply dropped his spouse, Gloria, off on the emergency room. He wasn’t allowed to go in along with her.

🙏 wanted 🚨! My spouse is within the #ER as she will be able to’t catch her breath. She has been having extreme coughing suits that gained’t cease. We tried our greatest to restrict publicity to #COVID19 however we slipped up someplace. I’m coughing as nicely. This🦠 is nasty. I’m ready in parking zone.

— Richard Costigan (@richardcostigan) July 24, 2020

His ideas traveled again to the small household gathering they’d attended in Georgia almost two weeks earlier than with their 23-year-old daughter, Emma, and 17-year-old son, Andrew. They had deliberate it so fastidiously. Nobody needed to get Gloria’s 88-year-old mom sick.

But right here they have been, Costigan’s spouse battling for breath within the ER, and Costigan sitting in his automotive coughing.

The household’s journey since then has been one in all sleeplessness, ache and fear concerning the future. And it’s one which Costigan, who labored as deputy chief of employees for Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is taking to social media and his four,400 Twitter followers.

And our evening continues to worsen – now I can’t cease coughing. I’m going to wish to go away Andrew within the room. #COVIDー19 is insidious – it’s prefer it is aware of you might be confused and scared after which decides what can it do to pile on. When we acquired right here – I used to be advantageous.

— Richard Costigan (@richardcostigan) July 26, 2020

Looking again, Costigan, 54, doesn’t suppose he and Gloria, 53, contracted the virus on their separate flights to Georgia, the place the household owns a house. The flights have been almost empty and the passengers and crew wore masks, he stated.

In Georgia, the household continued its routine of social distancing and wore masks each time they left the home — protocols they’d adopted for months at house in California. And once they gathered with their family members on that sunny Saturday in July, they have been cautious to area the chairs 6 toes aside within the yard.

But they didn’t put on masks, he stated, and relations went out and in of the home to seize drinks and use the restroom. “We thought we’d done everything right, and we screwed up,” Costigan stated in a July 29 telephone interview. “We made a big mistake.”

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Now seven of the 10 relations who attended that yard gathering are sick. Emma and Andrew don’t have any signs however haven’t been examined. Exactly who launched COVID-19 to the group is unclear. No one confirmed indicators of illness on the time. The first particular person to change into sick was Gloria’s sister, then her niece — then her mother.

Gloria Costigan turned sick after they returned to Sacramento, spent an evening within the hospital, wanted an oxygen machine at house and developed COVID-related pneumonia. By Saturday, nonetheless, she now not wanted supplemental oxygen.

Folks please #MaskUp #practicesocialdistancing #StayHome – you can not get complacent. This 🦠 simply wants one small opening and 💥- as of proper now half of our household has it. It is horrifying. Every time I cough now I fear. I can’t see my spouse within the hospital.

— Richard Costigan (@richardcostigan) July 24, 2020

Costigan’s popularity as a straight shooter, revered and appreciated by each Democrats and Republicans, may assist change minds concerning the virus, stated Barbara O’Connor, emeritus director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at California State University-Sacramento.

“I think that Richard is being very honest about what’s going on,” stated O’Connor, who has recognized Costigan for many years. “It’s not political. It’s really human.”

Lawmakers who’ve responded on Twitter with messages of assist embrace state Controller Betty Yee, and state Sens. Richard Bloom and Steve Glazer, all Democrats. Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), a doctor who chairs the Senate Health Committee, has texted nicely needs to Costigan.

For his followers, Costigan’s chronicles of the virus stay grim.

“I can’t go very far without needing to lay down,” he wrote in a July 25 tweet. “Been sleeping constantly last two days and the joint pain is intense.”

In one other tweet two days later, the signs have been the identical:

#Coughing continues, joints ache. All I wish to do is lay on the ground and sleep. I’ve an entire lack of power. Every time I attempt to take a deep breath, I begin coughing. I simply don’t wish to transfer. My spouse’s O2 ranges are nonetheless low even with machine.

— Richard Costigan (@richardcostigan) July 27, 2020

Gloria’s 88-year-old mother is at house with a cough, he stated.

Costigan talked to California Healthline about his household’s illness odyssey and what he hopes folks will take away from his COVID-19 Twitter chronicles. The interview has been edited for size and readability.

Q: You have tweeted in such element concerning the horrible signs you skilled. How do you are feeling now?

My ribs simply damage with the coughing and the fatigue, and my joints damage. I’ve the sweats and vivid goals. I sleep on the ground as a result of it’s extra snug than the mattress.

This factor simply hits like a ton of bricks. It’s additionally the nervousness of it. How lengthy is it going to final? Who are we going to reveal to it? I simply don’t know what the tip recreation is.

Q: What is it like at your own home now?

I put on a masks inside, Gloria wears a masks inside, and Andrew wears a masks. Gloria is sleeping in Emma’s previous bed room, I’m in our bed room, and Andrew stays upstairs. When I’m hacking, you’ll be able to see the spit come out. I’m anxious about getting pneumonia. That’s one thing I’m anxious about giving to my child. It’s not simply COVID.

Our daughter can solely stand on our entrance porch. She delivers meals to us. She places it by the door, rings the bell and stands 6 toes again.

Q: You suspect you bought COVID from the household gathering in Georgia. How do you hint it to that occasion?

When we checked out everyone that was on the gathering, we have been making an attempt to determine it out. It began with my sister-in-law getting sick. Out of 10 of us, seven of us are sick.

We by no means considered our household being the one to hurt us. Sometimes, you’ll be able to’t management your anger. You wish to be mad at somebody. Gloria and I simply determined we’re not going in charge anybody. We simply don’t know who had it.

Q: How has this expertise been thus far for you and your loved ones?

It’s been a weird week. I went to Kaiser Thursday evening. You drop your vital different off. You can’t go in. Off they go to the tented space and I wait within the parking zone. She is admitted. Her oxygen ranges are low. She will get a CT, she will get a shot in her abdomen for attainable blood clots. She will get out Friday and so they ship oxygen tanks to your own home. … She’s in her early 50s and doesn’t have any well being points [otherwise].

Saturday, my son is doubling over in ache. I find yourself within the ER with my son, and I begin coughing. I’m getting the facet eye from everybody. Thankfully, he had a kidney stone.

Q: What form of precautions have you ever and your loved ones taken these previous few months?

We hadn’t been anyplace for months. It was: Stay house. Work from house. No college.

Going to the shop was extraordinarily anxious. You go to the shop, masks up, glove up, you bleach your sneakers while you come house, spray down your automotive, wash your arms, use a towel to dry your arms, the towel goes straight into the washer.

Our son acquired annoyed with us as a result of we wouldn’t let him see his mates. He noticed images of mates of his partying at Folsom Lake. We have been the hardcore dad and mom.

Q: In posts on social media, you might be asking folks to put on a masks. Why do you suppose it’s change into a political situation?

I’ve been taking flak from mates of mine as a result of I’ve been posting “wear a mask.” Wearing a masks — by some means it has change into a freedom situation. It’s not a grand conspiracy. Wearing a masks is a straightforward factor to do to stop another person from getting sick. I don’t perceive how this has become a political situation. The authorities has a task to play. This is a well being care disaster.

It’s been a tricky 48 hours – two journeys the ER. First my spouse, Gloria who’s now house, and now Andrew who simply was taken for a CT scan. Folks – this 🦠 is dangerous. Please Please Please take precautions. #mask #maskup #practicesocialdistancing — Our medical professionals are superb! pic.twitter.com/nW0GZHwpji

— Richard Costigan (@richardcostigan) July 26, 2020

Q: How do you progress ahead on this pandemic?

We’re locking down. Nobody is coming into our circle. I don’t need it once more. To see my spouse this fashion is tough.

I need people to appreciate this factor is non-discriminatory. It doesn’t matter who you might be.

This KHN story first printed on California Healthline, a service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Samantha Young: syoung@kff.org”>syoung@kff.org, @youngsamantha

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