February 27, 2021



‘She was just spreading joy:’ Kaiser nurse reveals details of suspected Christmas-tree-costume COVID superspreader

SAN JOSE – About the only sign of holiday cheer on Christmas morning in the emergency department at Kaiser Permanente San Jose was a string of garland tacked up at the doctors station.

So when a staff member came bounding down the hall the morning of Dec. 25 dressed in an inflatable Christmas tree costume, the moment of levity was a welcome respite.

“She was just spreading joy,” said a nurse who worked that morning.

Instead, her battery-operated, air-powered costume may have spread the coronavirus throughout the ER. In the days since, 44 staff members have become infected, and on Sunday night Kaiser announced one of the employees working Christmas Day has died in a tragedy that is making worldwide headlines. It wasn’t clear Monday whether any visitors or patients to the unit were also infected.