As the coronavirus pandemic makes its way across not only the country but the world, many are having a tough time adjusting to self isolation and social distancing. However, one family in New Jersey is having a particularly tragic time. Four members of the same family have died due to COVID-19, along with more family members being hospitalized by the virus.

On March 13, the first member of the New Jersey family died, Rita Fusco-Jackson. Rita, who taught religious education classes at a local Catholic church, was 55-years-old when she passed, dying a day before her coronavirus test came back positive. She was only the second person in New Jersey to die because of the virus. A few days later, on March 18, another member of the Fusco family died – Carmine Fusco, who lived in Pennsylvania. Only a few hours later, Grace Fusco, the matriarch of the entire family, also succumbed to coronavirus. The 73 year old, who regularly attended church, had passed after being hospitalized from the virus. Tragically, Grace died without knowing that her eldest children, Rita and Carmine, had died too, spending her last few hours breathing through a ventilator. Three other members of the Fusco family have been hospitalized due to the virus, with two being in critical condition, and many members of the family are quarantining at home.


The coronavirus deaths in the Fusco family currently represent more than two percent of all American coronavirus deaths, according to available data. The virus is believed to have spread among the Fuscos after a get-together. Grace had 11 children and 27 grandchildren, and the family often went over to each other’s homes to hold regular family dinners. It is believed that a dinner guest had been in contact with the man who later became New Jersey’s first coronavirus related death, spreading it to rest of the Fusco family. Judith M. Persichilli, the New Jersey Health Commissioner, offered warnings to those who did not follow social distancing. “I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take personal responsibility and to avoid even small gatherings,” said Persichilli.