Dallas

Oak Cliff Woman Admits She and Her Father Were COVID-19 Deniers and Now Her Father is Dead

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It has been a deadly week across the nation and Texas.

On Thursday, the U.S. recorded more than 4,000 daily COVID-19 deaths, the highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic.

Nearly 29,000 Texans have died of the virus so far.

On Wednesday, the state reported 326 people in Texas died of coronavirus.

Santos Fuentes, 56, of Oak Cliff

That number includes an Oak Cliff father whose daughter is coming forward, expressing regret over denying the virus existed.

Santos Fuentes always spent the holidays surrounded by family.

But this past Christmas, he was alone in his hospital bed fighting COVID-19, intubated and on his belly.

“We’re devastated at this point,” said Gloria Fuentes.

The 56-year-old died Wednesday after a month-long battle with the virus.

Had the experienced carpenter survived, his daughter said he would have likely lost a leg due to complications related to a blood clot.

Gloria said she regrets not believing the virus was real, even after she contracted coronavirus in early November.

“I was one of those persons that personally thought that it was not there,” she said. “So was my father. He would joke around and tell his family members that COVID was never going to get to him. That COVID didn’t want him.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found Hispanic and Black Americans are nearly three times more likely to die of COVID-19 than white Americans.

“We Latinos don’t take it seriously because we like to party. We like to hang out together,” she said. “I think it’s just because everybody gets it differently, we don’t believe in it till we see someone close to us that has it the way that my father has it.”

Fuentes said her father reported to work with symptoms he thought were in line with a cold.

He was sent home to quarantine but resisted being tested for COVID-19.

It wasn’t until he was barely strong enough to stand that she took him to the hospital. A COVID-19 test resulted in a positive diagnosis. His symptoms worsened.

“For him, the biggest mistake he made was not believing in it and not thinking washing his hands was very important,” she said. “He would wash his hands often but not the way, the 20 seconds that we’re supposed to.”

She now hopes others, especially in the Latino community, learn from their mistakes.

“I didn’t believe in COVID,” said Gloria. “And maybe that’s you right now. And he lost the battle against COVID.”

Fuentes was the sole provider for his family.

The family has a GoFundMe fundraiser. If you would like to help, click here.


*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.


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