Sean’s Birthday during COVID-19

Amidst the chaos and fear, I threw a mini birthday party at home for Sean


Sean’s Birthday was on June 2, 2020. This was during a time of the deadly COVID19 pandemic and worldwide protests of the murder of George Floyd. It was a time of unrest and global shift. Tensions were and still are high, the online community was thrown for yet another loop. COVID-19 was still a very real threat and it had turned our country into a war zone. 

On the weekend of March 30th and 31st Sean was sick. Sean rarely gets sick, but that weekend he was very sick, tired, and could not keep any food down. When he called he sounded unusually tired and by Monday he was so run down he could not do any of his school work and told me he had stayed in bed all day. He called Monday morning and we spoke for a few minutes before I went into work. The next day was Sean’s birthday. It was also ‘Blackout Tuesday’ online and in the streets things were very somber and serious. The curfew for Sacramento and other cities had just been put into place, the National Guard had been called in and police brutality was escalating as the pressure on law enforcement was heating up.

Sean was not able to call on his birthday as planned. It was day 95 since we had seen each other which was already hard, but now we didn’t even get a phone call. I didn’t get to sing him Happy Birthday or even find out how he was feeling. I became really worried. We got no phone calls the rest of the week and I soon found out his yard had been completely locked down due to new COVID19 cases. 14 staff and 9 inmates had tested positive for COVID19 as of June 7 2020, and now they were keeping the inmate population locked down to hopefully slow the spread. I was again terrified, what if Sean was one of the few who had been positive? What if he did test positive?

on 6/2/202 Sean wrote: I just have no celebrating in me right now. I am still not feeling very well. I know if you were here, you would be helping me feel all better. My Birthday has been postponed until I am all better and I have all of my package supplies. Until then I just need to rest a lot. I miss my wife. I just want to be home with you. 

On Sunday  June 7th, we hit the 100 day mark for no visitation. The following day, I was able to call the prison medical department and the doctor called me back with the news: Sean had tested positive for SARS2 CoVid19.  He was one of 93 inmates who had tested positive at Corcoran State Prison after a recent transfer of men from a COVID19 hot spot facility with hundreds of cases who had not been properly tested and quarantined. California Department of corrections had failed to keep my husband safe. I was not surprised but I was again terrified. It feels like 2020 has been a constant roller coaster and we are continually getting even more horrible news and then readjusting to the new reality, then another unexpected curve ball out of nowhere hits us with a force so hard we are left breathless. Each time we plateau it feels like things can not possibly get any worse but then they do. I knew Sean was sick, he had the virus and now our communication had been completely cut off. His mail envelopes arrived empty, the letters “lost” by the officers. I called the prison every day before work for updates and spent hours after my job advocating, finding out what more could be done, and speaking up about the issue. I had to really push to get any information at all from the officers, who had claimed before the outbreak that they had a plan of action; which was clearly not happening. 

Currently there are 150+cases of COVID19 at Sean’s facility Corcoran State Prison. This is mainly due to inmates not being properly tested and quarantined before a recent transfer from CIM which is a hotspot for COVID19 and has had 16 deaths due to COVID19. CDCR cannot be trusted to keep our loved ones safe. There have been 18 inmate deaths in California due to COVID19 and there are currently 2,112 positive cases of COVID19 of the incarcerated population in California. Many officers were not tested until just recently at facilities that have positive cases and many still do not wear their masks properly (or at all) and believe COVID19 is a “hoax“.  California Department of Corrections has allowed for the spread of a potentially deadly virus due to sheer negligence. On June 4th my husband was tested for COVID along with the entire A yard. The test results came back on the 7th of June and the inmates who had tested negative remained in cells with cellmates who had positive test results for CVOVID19. These inmates remained together for over a week and were not relocated until June 10th. They were then allowed to go to day room together and receive phone calls, without being re-tested to see if their week long exposure to the virus had created new cases. Sean has seen 3 men be taken by ambulance for critical COVID19 symptoms.  Ken Clark and Ralph Diaz you have blood on your hands. 

Due to the COVID19 outbreak at Corcoran State Prison, Sean was put on isolation status and wasn’t able to make a single phone call to let me know. I feel this is cruel and unusual punishment because an inmate who has just been diagnosed with a potentially deadly virus should be able to speak to their loved  ones for what could be the last time. Many families had to find out about their loved ones’ positive COVID19 test through letters that came  several days later, calls to medical, or through another inmate calling. Sean has been kept in his cell 24/7 since the outbreak began on June 2nd, which is inhumane considering this is punishment due to no fault of his own.  Spending 19 days in isolation for a virus that should have been prevented is absolutely barbaric. 

This post will be updated as things unfold. 

Track California Inmate COVID19 Patients

Article about CDCR and transfer of COVID19 inmates

About Sean & Eiam

Sean O'Brien was wrongfully convicted in adult court in El Dorado County, California and sentenced to Life Without Parole at the age of 16 without a shred of physical evidence tying him to the crime for which he was convicted. Sean and I have been friends since grade school and we were married in 2017. We live and grow together in love with the knowledge of his innocence, our faith, and hope for our future. We embrace this journey, wherever it may take us, cherishing each moment we have together and staying true to our hearts. This blog is about the past we share, our life together and our fight for justice. Thank you for reading. God bless.
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