A family traveled from across the United States to celebrate their relative’s 99th birthday – only for every single one of them to return home infected with
The Goldsticker family thought that they were being careful; all either quarantining or taking COVID tests before they traveled to St Louis,
But all 12 people at the celebratory weekend – from the 99-year-old birthday boy Ralph to his three-year-old great nephew – contracted the virus.
All 12 members of the Goldsticker family, pictured, tested positive for COVID after this photo
Ralph Goldsticker was celebrating his 99th birthday in St Louis, Missouri at the time
Ralph Goldsticker celebrated turning 99 in October with family members in St Louis
‘So there’s a total of 12 of us. We were very conscient, we thought, beforehand,’ he said.
‘Everyone quarantined ahead of time. My brother and sister-in-law in San Francisco got tested before they got on an airplane.’
He said no one knew who got the virus first, or where they caught it.
Some flew to St Louis, and some drove.
A negative COVID test only indicates that you do not have it at that precise moment: you could become infected on leaving the test center.
All 12 arrived at around the same time.
‘No one was ahead of everybody else to say you were the one. We don’t know where it came from,’ he said.
Larry Goldsticker (pictured), from Plano, Texas, said they all thought they had been careful
Ralph Goldsticker contracted COVID-19 at his 99th birthday but is recovering
‘We all got in from our various places on Friday. Half of us stayed at a hotel, then we were either at my brother’s house who lives in St. Louis or my dad’s house.
‘The only time we left, we went out Saturday night. We had a private room at a restaurant just the 12 of us.’
He infected his wife, who had stayed at home in Texas.
Their three children, all aged in their 30s, also tested positive.
All 13 victims – the 12 at the party, plus Larry’s wife – are recovering at home.
Only one, Larry’s brother, who lives in San Francisco, was taken to hospital for an overnight stay for a racing heartbeat.
Even Larry’s father, Ralph, has made an almost full recovery.
‘The biggest impact to him was he lost his appetite for about a week and a half,’ Larry said.
‘I talked to him yesterday and his energy level is not quite back. He’s lost some weight but all in all he’s doing well.’
Larry said that their family’s experience should serve as a lesson to others thinking about getting together for festivities
‘As painful and as hard as it is, it’s not worth the risk,’ he said.
‘We thought we were being smart – we weren’t 100 per cent getting it.
‘We got very lucky. It’s everywhere. You just don’t know. So just be smart, be safe and stay healthy.’