Hawaii family mourns loss of 3 members after COVID quickly spreads through household

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:31 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a somber reminder the pandemic isn’t over yet, a Nanakuli family is mourning the loss of three members after COVID-19 quickly spread through their household.

Family members say the first person in the household to get sick was 36-year-old Baba Kanae, who’s severely disabled. He tested positive and was hospitalized for COVID-19 in April.

When he came back home 17 days later, his parents, Sybil and Jeffrey Kanae ― 71 and 58, respectively ― were gone after succumbing to the disease.

Daughter Jennifer Kanae said the entire family is still in shock.

“I cannot believe what happened. I’m still trying to figure out what the hell went wrong. What happened? Because one minute they are fine and then just gone,” she said.

“We don’t feel it’s real until it hits,” she added.

“In a one-month span, it was right after another,” added nephew Damien Julius.

“Going, going, going and when my aunty pass. It was like holy smokes. This is real.”

[Related: Delta variant now accounts for 40% of all new COVID infections in Hawaii]

Family members say they don’t how the virus entered the home. Despite isolating themselves, it still spread to all five unvaccinated members of the household.

Clayton Palakiko, 66, also died but his sister Georgian “Blackie” Palakiko, 67, survived after spending five days in the hospital.

“I thank God for everybody out there for loving my family,” said Palakiko, who has gotten vaccinated since the family’s ordeal.

“I truly feel, with all my heart, go get your vaccination,” she added.

Kanae says her brother, Baba, is not vaccinated because their parents decided that with his disability he couldn’t verbalize if the shot was affecting him.

There was no time to prepare financially so the family set up a GoFundMe account, fearing they may lose the van that Baba needs for transportation.

“When my uncle passed, his financial means wasn’t all set up because the COVID just wiped him out,” said Julius.

The family says they’re now trying to heal physically and emotionally by taking one day at a time.

“It’s devastating and hurtful, but I’m making the best of my life because I survived it,” said Palakiko.

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