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Bellator’s Erick Silva, whole family infected with coronavirus in Brazil: ‘We have no idea how it got to us’

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Erick Silva
Erick Silva's family is isolated in their beach house after his father-in-law tested positive for COVID-19.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Brazil has more than 12,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection, and it now includes Bellator fighter Erick Silva and his family.

Silva opted to self-quarantine with his wife’s family at their beach house in March after most of the cities around the country started to impose lockdown measures and close non-essential services due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

His wife Isabela, who gave birth to their second son Carlos in late 2019, started to get sick days later.

“I was holding pads for her and she had headaches, she said she couldn’t move, that it hurt a lot,” Silva told MMA Fighting. “The next day, my 5-month-old son Carlos had fever too, 98.6 degrees.”

Carlos’ pediatrician advised them to administer Tylenol Baby and his temperature went down eventually. Days later, though, the entire family started to experience symptoms of the coronavirus, including Isabela’s parents. Outside of Silva’s older son Kalleu, no one else in the house could smell or taste anything for 10 days or more.

Silva only decided to test his 58-year-old father-in-law when he found out on the news that loss of smell and taste was one of the symptoms of the COVID-19.

“Our biggest concern was my father-in-law because he’s 58 and he has hypertension. We were all desperate,” Silva said. “That’s when we began to imagine that it could be COVID-19. We got desperate, everyone got nervous.”

Silva’s father-in-law was tested and the result came back positive. With the shortage of tests available in the country, the doctor told the MMA fighter it’s highly likely that he and his family likely have it too since they had been sharing a house for days, but couldn’t afford to get everyone tested.

Combate first reported he had been infected by the virus.

Silva's sister-in-law has experienced shortness of breath for days, another common symptom of disease. Silva, who admits he was “a bit desperate” after he felt the same symptom, is the only member of the family that can feel taste and smell again after a period of 10 days.

“It all seems so distant from us, we kind of doubt it, we thought it wouldn’t happen to us,” Silva said. “We decided to isolate at the beach house and thought we would be safe there, but it ended up catching everyone. We have no idea how it got to us. … When I had shortness of breath on the eighth day, I admit I started to feel desperate. We started to think of a lot of bad things. This is not something I wish upon anyone because there’s nothing we can do.”

The virus is so new and doctors around the world discover new things every day, so Silva’s family will remain isolated at home even though there are early indications that one person cannot be infected twice by the virus.

The 170-pound fighter says he was negotiating his return to the Bellator cage for June after back-to-back losses in his first appearances in 2019, but now expects it to take a while since the promotion was forced to cancel multiple events due to the pandemic.

“I’m afraid to catch it again,” Silva said. “I’ll remain isolated so I don’t catch it again. If I catch it again, I’ll be afraid to feel the same shortest of breath again and get in a state of paranoia, wondering if I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to a hospital and be away from my family. A lot of bad things go through your mind.”