The wife of the New Rochelle lawyer at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in New York — which spurred Gov. Cuomo to enact a containment zone one mile in radius Tuesday — urged the public to "stay rational and calm" as the virus continues to spread, and to not vilify their family.
"I hope the Garbuz name becomes associated not as the ones with coronavirus but the ones who were instrumental in helping get this contained," Adina Lewis Garbuz wrote on Facebook Tuesday afternoon. "I have not wanted to speak out as I have no urge to be in the limelight and I am sure my husband would be most horrified knowing he was, but I am willing to if it in any way can be helpful to others, to allay fears and restore feelings of calm."
Her husband and law firm partner, Lewis Garbuz, was among the first cases of COVID-19 discovered in the tri-state. Since he tested positive, the vast majority of cases in New York and Westchester County have stemmed from exposure to Garbuz in the days after he initially contracted the virus. Many of the cases have ties to the Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue where Garbuz attended a function, unknowingly and unintentionally exposing dozens of people to coronavirus.
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Lewis Garbuz stressed in the social media post that her husband went to the doctor multiple times, and that doctors were unable to figure it out for days as well given that he had no risk factors that would lead them to believe he was at risk.
"It is easy to be fearful and scared and believe me, my family has been seen plenty of irrational bad behaviors based on it," she said, referencing a laundromat that refused to serve her children despite them being out of the country and cleared by the Centers for Disease Control, or a nurse who "hugged the walls" as they walked by. But Lewis Garbuz implored that people not let emotion and fear control their behavior, writing that "We are in very unchartered (sic) waters with this virus and unknowns are scary but we also know quarantines and testing are helping. Let facts override bad thoughts."
Lewis Garbuz said that she and the rest of their family are "fine," and that none have exhibited symptoms more than a cough. The family friend who was called a "neighbor" is also healthy, she said, adding that no others in the community had been hospitalized, although there are others who have "had high fevers and suffered from this."
The attorney sounded hopeful and in good spirits in her post, even saying that she hopes to someday find humor "in the absurdity" that the coronavirus has triggered.
"I look forward to being able to laugh about the time we were all 'coronaed' (a verb I just made up) with all of you but in particular with my husband," she wrote. "Just maybe he won’t be just the one with bad luck, but the one who can to bring this to an end. This will end. Quarantines will work and we will all be stronger for it," she wrote.
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More than 100 tri-state residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and health officials caution the number of confirmed infected will rise as the ability to test increases. The vast majority of the people who have been tested, though, have been negative.