“The severity of this disease is real,” he said. “This disease needs to not be taken lightly. Please protect your family, your loved ones, your friends, yourself. Practice social distancing. Please don’t be in places with a lot of people. This disease is deadly.”
In the video, Towns explained that his mother and father, Karl Towns Sr., fell ill early last week. After his mother’s condition didn’t improve, Towns and his sister, Lachelle, encouraged her to go to the hospital for a coronavirus test. Towns said the test results didn’t come back “for a long time.”
While Towns Sr. was released to self-quarantine at home, where he remains, Cruz was held at the hospital, where her condition began to deteriorate. Her symptoms — a cough, a 103-degree fever, difficulty breathing — “kept getting worse,” Towns explained, despite the hospital’s best efforts.
“I felt she was turning a corner,” Towns said, describing a brief stint of progress. “I knew there were more days to come, but we were heading in the right direction. [Then the doctors] said she went sideways. She went sideways quick. Her lungs were getting extremely worse. She was having trouble breathing. They were explaining to me that she had to be put on a ventilator.”
Cruz was then placed into a medically induced coma, in which she remains.
Towns said he was doing his best to remain positive throughout the ordeal, providing encouragement to his mother, whom he described as “the boss” of the family and “the strongest woman I know.”
“I told her I loved her,” Towns said of their conversations since she was admitted to the hospital. “Every day, I told her how much I loved her. She was telling me things I didn’t want to hear.”
Towns said the family has tracked his mother’s progress “day by day,” receiving regular updates from medical professionals since she was placed in a coma.
Cruz, who is a native of the Dominican Republic, has been a fixture at Towns’s games throughout his development as a five-star recruit in New Jersey, a top overall pick after a one-and-done season at the University of Kentucky and a five-year career with the Timberwolves.
In a 2014 interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal when Towns was in college, Cruz described herself as a “loud and rowdy” fan who liked to “stomp my feet and curse a little bit.” Cruz often would wear Towns’s jersey as she cheered on her son. Towns has played for the Dominican Republic’s national team because of his family ties, and he praised his mother’s homemade arroz con pollo in a 2017 interview with the Undefeated.
“Life might keep throwing punches at me, but I’m going to keep getting back up," Towns said in the video. “I’m not going to quit. Neither will my family. Neither will my mother. Dominican women are strong. My mother is the strongest woman I know. I know she’ll beat this, and we’re going to rejoice when she does.”
Fourteen employees of NBA teams, including 10 players, have tested positive for the coronavirus. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was the first to test positive March 11, which prompted the NBA to abruptly suspend its 2019-20 season. While seven NBA teams have announced positive tests for at least one member of their organizations, the Timberwolves are not one of them.