Tony Green says he's no longer skeptical that the pandemic is real.
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Before he and his family fell ill after a June family get-together of 6 people in his Dallas home, 43-year-old Tony Green didn't quite believe that the coronavirus posed a real health threat.

"I told myself [COVID-19] wouldn't be that bad: 'It's the flu. It's basically just the flu,'" Green admitted in an October Washington Post essay.

He has since changed his tune, though, after that small gathering eventually led to his own COVID-19 hospitalization for three days, the infection of 14 relatives and the deaths of his 52-year-old father-in-law and his father-in-law's mother. Soon after that Dallas event, "Six infections turned into nine. Nine went up to 14. It spread from one family member to the next, and it was like each person caught a different strain," Green said.

In another interview with CNN, Green talked about his remorse for doubting the legitimacy of the virus.

"The feeling that I have is kind of like what a drunk driver would have if they killed their family," he told Anderson Cooper.

Unfortunately, Green's family is not the first or only to take part in a small gathering that resulted in a COVID-19 outbreak. In July, a 13-year-old girl passed the virus along to 11 family members across four states while on a family vacation. After "only a couple of hours," at a surprise party, 18 members of a Texas family tested positive for COVID-19 in June, according to our sister brand Health. And also in June, we spoke to one Iowa resident who fell ill–along with 7 others—after eating inside at a restaurant to celebrate a birthday.

With the holiday season approaching, Green now seems to be more in line with Dr. Fauci's more cautious gathering advice.

"Take a little bit of extra precaution," Green said on CNN. "If you're nervous about it...I think that you've got a reason to be afraid of it. I think maybe you should bow out this year."