2 brothers died from COVID-19 just 3 weeks apart

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On the driveway of the southeast Harris County home she shared with her husband for years, Becky Lopez grieved.

"It's been very hard for me and my kids because we all thought he was going to get better," Lopez said. "It's been really, really hard."

The family had a small birthday gathering in July. Most of the 15 people who attended got sick with COVID-19, but brothers Inez and Jose Lopez, with underlying conditions like diabetes, had to be hospitalized.

Jose, 59, died on Aug. 18, and Inez died on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

"We were able to be by his side. I wish things were different, but I guess God had other plans for him," Lopez said.

The two brothers died three weeks apart. Jose was the fun uncle who dressed up like Santa Claus, said his niece. Inez was the rock for his wife and their four children.

"He was a very loving father and husband. He always gave us everything we wanted. He bent over backwards to make sure we were never without," Lopez explained.

So now, as the family struggle with the losses, they also hope their story is a reminder to others, especially as more venues open and more people gather.

"If you know you've been sick or have been around someone who's been sick, just stay home. Take the precautions necessary so that things like this don't happen," said Maria Vences, Inez's sister-in-law. "Out of the people who got sick, two of the people lost their lives."

At the Lopez house, there is now a sign on the door telling visitors to wear masks. Once inside, masks and sanitizer sit on table next to the photo of Becky and her husband.

"Just take it serious," she said. "I've been praying and asking God to give me the strength and I know that I did everything for him. He fought a good battle until the end."

A drive-by fundraiser is being planned to offset funeral expenses. A GoFundMe has also been set up.

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