ST. LOUIS — Johnetta and Vernnell Warlick have been married for nearly 10 years, and like so many couples, they are inseparable.
"We go to church together. We go bowling together, go out to eat, and love watching movies together," said Johnetta.
Last month, the St. Louis couple said they couldn't believe the life-jolting experience they would face together.
"I was very scared," Vernell said. "I knew my wife was vulnerable. I knew she was weak at the time."
"I was just in so much pain and agony and I'm used to a regular headache," Johnetta said.
On June 10, the 32-year-old state parole and probation assistant left work and went to the emergency room. The next day, she learned she had something more menacing than a headache.
"My heart just sank," she said.
She tested positive for COVID-19.
"Every moment, every breath was a cough," Johnetta said. "I had lots of pressure in my head for days. I had a fever of 102 for 12 days straight. I remember one night I felt so bad that I thought this was it, so I crawled to my office and left my insurance papers on my desk for my husband."
And what's more?
"I didn't have any symptoms," said Vernnell.
Even though he was asymptomatic, 33-year-old Vernnell, a federal mail processor, contracted the virus days later.
"Much later after my wife, I was hot, I was cold and shivering," Vernell said. "At had no appetite and one night I looked in the mirror and I was so pale that I thought, God is this the end? It was very shocking.
"The pressure of all this, it was so great. There were times I just couldn't breathe and at that time I was still trying to take care of my wife."
"Thank God our family and friends were there for us," Johnetta said. "They brought us food and left it on the porch. And you couldn't take anything for all the pain other than Tylenol."
For weeks, the couple also said they drank lots of hot tea, cough syrup and got plenty of rest. Vernnell quarantined himself downstairs at their home while his wife stayed upstairs.
Nearly two months later, he's COVID-free.
"I thank God that we survived," Vernell said.
His wife is still getting better.
"I still feel weak sometimes, but compared to how I felt in the beginning, on a scale of one to 10, I'd say I'm a six and a half. I have faith and I'm almost at the finish line," said Johnetta.
"I believe COVID-19 has made us a stronger couple. I think the whole vows of through sickness and in health were really at play during all this and were tested and I thank God that we passed that," said Vernnell.
"I also want to tell the public to please, please, wear your mask to protect yourself and others. Wash your hands and practice social distancing. This virus is real. Even if you do everything you can to try to protect yourself, you can still catch it. I'm living proof," added Johnetta.