Isabel Gonzalez was pregnant when she contracted COVID-19. After delivering her baby girl Victoria via emergency C-section at Massachusetts General Hospital on March 30, the Chelsea resident was transferred to the ICU on April 2.
In her struggle with coronavirus, Gonzalez was intubated and put on a ventilator for more than three weeks. On May 4, she was admitted to Spaulding Hospital in Cambridge, where she made steady improvements.
While Gonzalez was recovering, her family members back in Chelsea watched after her newborn. After finally testing negative, on May 12 she saw Victoria for the first time in 44 days as she was discharged from Spaulding.
As seen in the photos, Gonzalez’s close friends and relatives cheered her on from a distance at the hospital, and also welcomed her back home from the street by her house.
Chelsea, where the Gonzalez family is among the more than 60% of 40,000 residents who are Latino, has been hit exceptionally hard by the pandemic. As the New York Times wrote in a recent nationwide investigation into racial disparities among patients, “Public health experts say Latinos may be more vulnerable to the virus as a result of the same factors that have put minorities at risk across the country. Many have low-paying service jobs that require them to work through the pandemic, interacting with the public.”
At the time of this writing, Chelsea has the highest rate of infection in Massachusetts; whereas the average rate per 100,000 people statewide is 865.03, in Chelsea, it’s a staggering 5,217.1, with 1,965 reported infections to date.
This article was produced in collaboration with the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism as part of its Pandemic Democracy Project.
Keiko Hiromi is a Japanese photographer based in Boston and Tokyo, Japan. Her work has appeared on NYT, People Magazine, Vanity Fair, El Pais, Der Spiegel, Boston Globe, PRI, ABC news, and other publications around the globe.