Rodriguez Family

Lawrence and Lydia Rodriguez are pictured here with their children Ethan, Nathan, Adam and Synphonia.


Lydia and Lawrence Rodriguez had been careful about COVID-19, a relative said Tuesday.

They and their four children had stayed home often over the past year or more and wore masks when they went out, Dottie Jones, Lydia Rodriguez’s cousin, said.

“They weren’t careless,” Jones said. “They quarantined. They masked. But they didn’t get the vaccine.”

The two were hospitalized about three weeks ago after the entire family tested positive for COVID-19.

Lawrence Rodriguez died Monday after a week in intensive care, Jones said.

The Rodriguez family’s experience illustrates what national and local health authorities have been warning for weeks — that the vast majority of people, more than 99 percent, hospitalized for and who die from COVID-19 infection are unvaccinated.

Jones, also a La Marque resident, has been sharing her cousin’s story in hopes more people will decide to get vaccinated and to try to raise money for the couple’s four children, she said.

“This false information; this narrative is causing people like my cousins, who are already fearful, to become more fearful and make these really dangerous, life-threatening decisions,” Jones said.

Lawrence Rodriguez’s transfer to intensive care last week shocked the family because he’d taken Lydia to the hospital July 12 as her condition worsened, Jones said. The hospital admitted Lawrence, too, she said.

“All of a sudden, he took a drastic turn and within an hour was in the ICU and was intubated,” Jones said.

Lydia Rodriguez, who was immediately put in intensive care, also was intubated, Jones said.

“She’s still very critical,” Jones said. “She’s still on very high vent settings.”

Although the family isn’t sure, Jones suspects the family contracted COVID-19 from a small church youth camp the children attended, she said.

The children, 18-year-old twins, a 16-year-old and an 11-year-old, also tested positive for COVID-19, but had either no or mild symptoms, she said.

Jones, a nurse practitioner, hadn’t talked with her cousin very much about COVID-19 vaccines, she said. Lydia Rodriguez had always been hesitant and distrustful of vaccines and medicines, Jones said.

“I don’t know where the fear stemmed from,” Jones said. “She was just very leery of medications and vaccines. The kids have had some vaccines but not all of them.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Jones spent a lot of time on social media promoting mask wearing and disputing false information, she said.

“I just got tired of arguing with people,” Jones said.

But after her cousin’s experience, friends who’ve opposed vaccines have told Jones they plan to get inoculated, she said.

As of Tuesday, 54.5 percent, about 156,938, of the 287,908 Galveston County residents 12 or older had been fully vaccinated, according to Texas Department of State Health Services data. About 62.3 percent of the state is fully vaccinated.

Jones blames false information for the hesitancy about getting vaccinated. Before she was intubated, Lydia Rodriguez asked a family member to tell her children to get vaccinated, Jones said.

“It was the misinformation that was out there that led them to that choice,” Jones said. “That just shows how strong that false narrative can impact people. What a high price they can pay.”

As of Tuesday, Lydia Rodriguez still was in intensive care.

“We’re just praying really hard for a miracle that she’ll survive and survive with some quality of life,” Jones said. “Right now, it’s day by day.”

Jones opened up a GoFundMe page to try to raise money to pay for some of the children’s expenses, she said.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri.


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(14) comments

Bailey Jones

Another tragedy for another family. It's the same story for each of the 614,021 Americans who have died from this horrible disease. Each one has left behind family, and friends, and the memory of a loved one dying alone in a hospital.

The pandemic is real. It's not a myth. It's not a conspiracy. It's not a political plot. It's a virus. And we know how to fight it - with vaccinations.

It's really two viruses. The actual virus with all of its variants, and the virus of denial and misinformation that is convincing otherwise intelligent people to avoid the one simple and easy thing that can save their lives.

The virus is already overwhelming the health care systems in Louisiana and Florida with record numbers of hospitalizations in both states. A couple of AP stories this morning -

"We’re asking for ambulances not to come to us, to divert to another facility. There’s not another facility for them to go to. So, when I’m making rounds, it’s not uncommon to see five, six stretchers lining up in our emergency room hallway with the EMS drivers standing by waiting to offload, but I don’t have a room to put them in."

"Sutton said 50% of her hospital’s patients have COVID-19, and the facility discontinued all elective surgeries to turn its recovery room into a third intensive care unit for coronavirus patients. She said more than 60 of the health system’s employees were unable to work because they had contracted the illness. The hospital can’t use all 330 of the beds it has available because it has too few health care workers."

"In the past week, Florida has averaged 1,525 adult hospitalizations a day, and 35 daily pediatric hospitalizations. Both are the highest per capita rate in the nation."

"There has been a startling rise in the number of children with the virus at hospitals in Miami, many of them requiring intensive care."

"The Mayo Clinic hospital in Jacksonville said it had exceeded its capacity of 304 licensed beds due to COVID-19 cases and asked the Agency for Health Care Administration for permission to operate overcapacity until the current surge ends."

Please, please, please get vaccinated. The Galveston County Health District is offering free vaccinations at 9850 Emmett F. Lowry Expy., Suite B-104, Texas City, with no appointment required - just walk in. They also have a service that will come to you if you're homebound. There are also pop-up locations - check the Health District's Facebook page.

Wayne D Holt

"It's not a conspiracy. It's not a political plot. "

Bailey, what is being done to savage our constitutional protections, our religious freedoms (not that it would be of much importance to you), and our private choices in how to best care for ourselves is unconscionable. The fact that you believe folks who have shown to lie before Congress, to be charged billions in fines for criminal violations and fraudulent misrepresentation of previous drugs, and look to them as your saviors shows just how compromised you are, morally and in your reasoning capacity.

After 18 months of presenting links from dissenting institutions recognized for their work in infectious disease as well as skeptical researchers whose whole life has been dedicated to understanding viral response in the human body, you remain the quintessential company man, Good German and all-around Medical Mafia sycophant who has never heard an official narrative he couldn't embrace with both inoculated arms.

I am going to be moving into other areas of resistance to the medical insanity you typify, and The Daily News waters like dewdrops on fungus. My subscription will lapse in a day or two and I won't be renewing it.

I am reasonably confident everyone who is convinced of your position is already there; everyone who finds what I have written about over the past year and more worth serious consideration is doing their own research by now.

There is no time remaining to waste on reading your take on endless press releases from criminals, which is your specialty. Others here can continue to take up the cudgel if they would like to try to knock some sense into you. To paraphrase Roy Schieder in "Jaws": They're going to need a bigger club.

To The Daily News editorial and management team: I am very disappointed that people who I know to be well intentioned and smart have simply refused to allow anything but the controlled narrative of the gargantuan healthcare INDUSTRY--for that is what it truly is--an opportunity to be heard, debated upon and shown to be valid or not. This is not journalism. This is capitulating to the role of being the house organ for a specific political and economic perspective. One subscription less won't make much difference to your bottom line but it makes all the difference to me symbolically.

We Will Not Comply.

Mason Schraufnagel

Meanwhile, another 2000 US babies will be murdered today.

Susan McLellan

You are referring to the increasing number of children who are being hospitalized with COVID at this time I presume? Some of whom die or are left with disabling consequences? So logically you are advocating that everyone who can be vaccinated, do so as fast as possible, to reduce the chance that children who cannot yet access vaccines have less chance of becoming infected. Thank you for supporting science-based recommendations to reduce the consequences of this pandemic.

If however you were digressing to a completely different topic such as your view of abortion as murder, then logically you are in complete support of science based sex education starting in middle school, and effortless access to pregnancy and STD prevention methods for individuals (male, female, and any other designations) of any age? That would cut down on abortions.

Mason Schraufnagel

lol, no. None of this is about saving lives. But of course I support the option to vaccinate for those who want that option. And I do support the ability to sue China for infecting the world.

Ron Shelby

We must accept some Chaff along with the Wheat in terms of respondents on this thread. That's the concept of free speech. Thanks for the great reply Susan.

Dan Freeman

Criminal misdirection

Mason Schraufnagel

My body, my choice... or nah?

Bailey Jones

ooh ooh, I like this game. But you have to play along, Mason.

If you'll grant that women should have an absolute choice about whether they carry a pregnancy to term, I'll grant that everyone should have an absolute right to decide whether or not to be vaccinated.

If you'll grant that women should have a limited choice about whether they carry a pregnancy to term, I'll grant that everyone should have a limited right to decide whether or not to be vaccinated.

If you'll grant that women should have no choice about whether they carry a pregnancy to term, I'll grant that everyone should have no right to decide whether or not to be vaccinated.

Your turn - which shall it be?

Carlos Ponce

Every abortion results in DEATH, Bailey. The infant has its own body, own DNA.

Wayne D Holt

He could care less, Mason. The ones who survive can be treated to Drag Queen Story Hour in a few years so all good to him.

Bettie Bennett

I got the vaccine as soon as it became available because we, elderly are most vulnerable and don’t survive if we get it. I’m just not ready to go to my Lord while suffering from Covid. I prefer another reason for going. All you unvaccinated people can make the decision not to die from Covid. There’s a better way to die.

Wayne D Holt

Bettie, I'm 71, and haven't worn a mask more than a half dozen times in 18 months. I'm also a vegetarian for 45 years who never drank or smoked, I don't take any medicines, have not had a flu shot in over 20 years, get out in the sun and do a lot of volunteer work. Must just be a coincidence that I only go to the doctor once a year for an annual checkup.

The median case fatality rate in the US for Covid is .26%. --one quarter of one percent of those who have been shown to have the virus. There are millions more who never suspected they had it.

We are dying of every chronic disease in the book and have for decades. We are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people overseas in wars that have nothing to do with our defense. At home, "my body, my choice" seems only to be valid if someone is aborting a child. If you actually are making your own health choices, you are told to listen to the admonitions of the guy who facilitated funding the development of the virus that is so dreadful.

In 2020, three times as many people died of heart aliments as from Covid. Why no panic over that?

Covid is a health hazard, as are many other maladies, behaviors and vicissitudes of life. The difference is, there is an agenda to pick up the Covid football and run with it past constitutional protections, religious freedom, economic vitality, and social cohesion. I'm not ready to join that all.

Ted Gillis

Wayne, you may think Dr. Fauci is guilty of something, so we all shouldn’t listen to him, fine, maybe so.

But what about Dr. Hotez with Baylor? Should we not listen to him too? You seem to throw all your passion (and obvious clinical knowledge) against these vaccines because of your dislike and distrust of this one guy (Fauci). I don’t. I trust the doctors that I have worked around for years at Baylor. They say, take the vaccine and that it will protect you from serious illness if you get the Covid virus. You on the other hand offer advice with no such assurances. I choose the Baylor docs advice over yours., sorry.

My background is construction, not medical, so you obviously have an advantage of knowledge and skill in this subject, I will grant you that.

But I will take one last dig at you before I close. What religious freedoms is anymore threatening by advising someone to take the vaccine? Is that one of those vicissitudes of life?

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