OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The fourth wave of COVID-19 crept into the the Davis family in June.
The family had four generations get together to celebrate Father’s Day, but didn’t know the uninvited virus would ravage the family tree.
Fourteen family members went to lunch. Only two were vaccinated.
In the following days, 11 members of the extended family tested positive for COVID-19 as it spread, including nine who attended that lunch.
Five family members were spared, including both of the vaccinated adults.
Steve Davis, 39, was the first to test positive, five days after his symptoms began. He was feeling fatigued and dehydrated during Father’s Day weekend.
“I really didn’t think it was going to get us, each one by one,” he said. “I’m thinking I don’t have COVID. I’m sure I don’t have COVID. I’m thinking I’m young. I’ve got a good immune system. I’m good to go.”
After he tested positive, his wife, Deanna, her 15-year-old twins, Andrew and Taylor, and Steve Davis’ 17-year-old son, Kameron, all tested positive.
Steve Davis’ parents, Stephen and Terese Davis, were diagnosed next.
“They say this Delta strain is 275% faster to attack your system,” said Stephen Davis, 62, who always intended to get the vaccine, eventually.
“My parents had been telling us, every time we (saw) them. (They were) telling us get the shot, get the shot,” said Terese Davis, 54.
Stephen and Terese Davis were hesitant, but they planned to get the shot this summer. COVID-19 got them first.
“I was just making sure no one was going to turn into a zombie or anything,” Terese Davis joked. “We wanted to give it six months.”
The couple were both hospitalized with COVID-19 complications.
“I couldn’t help anybody else,” Stephen Davis said through tears. “I couldn’t do anything for anyone else. I had to focus on myself to get through it, and that’s not me.”
Stephen Davis was in the hospital for nine days, three in intensive care.
“The ones who are surviving it have had the shot, whereas the ones who are passing away, haven’t had the shot,” Stephen Davis said. “They’re saying it’s almost 100%.”
Stephen and Terese Davis’ daughter, Meghan Davis, was also at that Father’s Day lunch with her boyfriend, Josh Afsharpour, and their baby boys, Leighton, 2, and Bentley, 7 months. All four tested positive.
The delta variant is infecting young children at a much higher rate than previous strains.
“I was really scared because there’s not much we could do to help (the boys) or help anybody,” Meghan Davis said.
Meanwhile, Steve and Deanna Davis decided not to go to the hospital. They were struggling to beat COVID-19 at home.
Steve Davis didn’t have the strength to take care of his wife. “It got pretty bad to where I couldn’t do anything,” he remembered.
Davis didn’t realize, in his own suffering, that his wife was dying of COVID-19.
Ten days after diagnosis, Steve Davis finally began to see some improvement in his symptoms. Deanna Davis was still struggling to breathe.
“I told her, I said, ‘If you’re not doing any better by tomorrow, you’re going to the hospital. You didn’t want to go to the hospital, but you’re going to the hospital,'” he remembers.
That night, he found his wife unconscious in their bed. The 911 dispatcher told him he would have to do CPR on her.
He needed to move her from the bed to the floor, but he didn’t have the strength. He asked his 17-year-old son to help.
The 911 dispatcher instructed the father and son how to do chest compressions.
“I couldn’t do it by myself because I had COVID and I was pretty weak,” Davis said. “I told my son, Kameron, ‘You’re going to have to come over here and do CPR.'”
In those final moments, Steve Davis tried to barter with God.
“I told him, ‘Take my life to let her live.'”
Deanna Davis died on the 4th of July, two weeks after Father’s Day. She was 45 years old.
Carl Jones, 82, and Mary Jameson, 82, were the only two in the family who had received the COVID-19 vaccine.
They believe the shot protected them from the coronavirus as it moved through the entire family.
“We were there at the party,” Jameson remembered. “I hugged little Stephen and Deanna. We sat right across from them. I really believe in the shot.”
Most of the family is now convinced. They say they will get the shot as soon as they are eligible.
“A lot of people are saying it’s political or it’s not real. It’s definitely real,” said Stephen Davis.
The toll of this pandemic weighs heavy for the whole family, but especially for Davis, yet he is unconvinced about the protection of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m skeptical about it, myself. At this point, I feel like I’m backed into a corner to where I don’t know if I should or shouldn’t.”
In the end, the choice will be his.