America’s Salad Bowl Becomes Fertile Ground for Covid-19

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His father, Richard, 77, a chiropractor, and his mother, Carole, 75, the office manager, had been traveling back and forth to their clinic on the Mexican side of the border each day. Many of his loyal clients, most of them snowbirds, were in Yuma, counting on him to soothe their back, shoulder and hip pains.

In mid-November, against their son’s wishes, the couple visited a restaurant that had hired Rick to roast a pig on the back patio. “He was old and stubborn, and he exhibited machismo. That’s the culture,” he said of his father, a Mexican-American and strong supporter of former President Donald J. Trump. “He wasn’t going to let this bug dominate him.”

Two days later, the couple began exhibiting flulike symptoms that turned out to be Covid-19.

The same week, Mr. Madrid’s two siblings and their spouses tested positive for the virus.

On Nov. 29, his father died. Five days later, Mr. Madrid gave in to the urge to visit his mother, ailing and grieving, at the sage-green ranch-style house where he had been raised.

Soon Mr. Madrid could not smell or taste, not even his son’s steak with jalapeños. He had the coronavirus. A week later, his wife also tested positive.

“As proud as I am of my community for being tough in pulling through, I am also disappointed that people didn’t take it more seriously,” he said.

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