Chicago COVID: Family warns others of short visits after losing mother, father days before Christmas

The couple, married for 59 years, died just 10 days apart
CHICAGO (WLS) -- What was supposed to be a simple haircut has cost a husband and wife their lives just days before Christmas. Now, their son hopes their story will serve as a tale of caution for those who want to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones.

The Chicago family has been left heartbroken after several relatives were infected with the COVID-19 in just one short visit.

The family hopes their tragic tale of caution serves as a warning for those who want to celebrate Christmas with loved ones.

After 59 years of marriage, Mike and Carol Bruno died ten days apart after battling the coronavirus. Mike passed away Wednesday night.

RELATED: 'Mom's worth it': US holiday travel surges despite COVID-19 outbreak

"We never thought this would happen to our family and it did, and this virus is really unforgiving and just attacks in really vicious ways," said Mike and Carol's son, Joe.

Joe said he, along with his brother, sister and her husband, also contracted the virus.

The family tragedy began with a haircut on November 20.

RELATED: 2 separate COVID-19 outbreaks may have started with a person who went to work sick

"My sister works in a salon and so just before Thanksgiving my sister got a COVID test and was negative, and she quarantined for three or four days after she got the negative test. I needed a haircut, and she said, 'Well, why don't I just come by and cut your hair so you don't have to come into the salon,'" Joe recalled.

Joe's sister brought their mother with her to his apartment.

"I did not hug my mom; I did not hug my sister. My sister cut my hair, she was masked and all the windows were open," Joe said. "We were distanced in my apartment and then they left. They were over for maybe 40-45 minutes. Later that evening, my sister started to feel symptoms and about three days later I started to feel symptoms," Joe said.

RELATED: Families find new ways to stay connected amid COVID-19 pandemic this holiday

With some people still planning to see their loved ones for Christmas, this family's story is a reminder of what can happen.

"Had I made that sacrifice and, you know, didn't spend, you know, 30-40 minutes with my mom --they would still be here," he said.

"We've got to double down on the public health measures we know work," said Dr. Jay Bhatt with Medical Home Network. "So, I would just think about what risk you're putting yourselves and others into when you leave your house to go to a family gathering."

RELATED: Chicago COVID vaccine map shows how many have gotten vaccinated by zip code

Mike and Carol left behind a powerful lesson of love in the final chapter of their lives that coronavirus couldn't touch.

"I think the thing that gives us peace is knowing that my dad didn't know my mom passed away," Joe said. "To know that they went within less than 10 days of one another is such a beautiful thing. And, you know, I would give anything to bring them back but I'm so happy that they are together again."
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.