SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Together for more than a decade, Mario and LaToya Laniez recently married and were living life just like many others until the coronavirus pandemic hit.
The couple said they didn't take it seriously until things quickly changed after a Father’s Day barbecue, when Mario became ill with COVID-19 like symptoms.
"Anything that came in just came back out," Mario said. "It was really intense... and when the time came to actually have the test done, we drove there and by that time, I was having a really bad time breathing. I could barely walk to the car, barely stood up and I was really uncomfortable."
After being admitted into the hospital, Mario said his health went on a roller coaster ride. It was test after test, and he was isolated from loved ones. He lost up to 30 pounds and suffered from internal bleeding. There was no answer as to when he would fully recover.
“They do provide two types of options for treatment, and those treatments are not FDA approved yet and they do tell you that they are not,” Mario said.
After 10 days in the hospital, Mario was sent home, but his fight was not over yet. He said that he still felt weak and had to be on a ventilator. LaToya had to quarantine away from her husband while also being his main caregiver.
"I’m not sure if I have it at this point, so my first test came out negative. But my doctor thinks it might be a false negative, so I got retested," LaToya said. "I still need to isolate from him. His quarantine has ended but mine still is continuing through 14 days after his quarantine ends.”
LaToya has not yet received the diagnosis of the second test.
According to Sacramento County Public Health, Black and Hispanic communities are hit hardest by the coronavirus due to economic disparities and lack of access to health care.
“It’s very common in communities of color. We are very hush-hush about things," LaToya said. "We don’t want to put our business out there, but it’s important that if you are feeling symptoms to get the help seek the help."
As for Mario's road to recovery, he said that he is no longer is exhibiting symptoms and has the strength to walk again. But he is still taking precautions to not catch the virus a second time.
“I’m fortunate that I came out of it because a lot of people can’t say the same thing. They are gone because of this virus,” Mario said.
Editor's Note: A push alert for this story implied both the husband and wife have coronavirus. The story has since been updated to clarify only the husband has been diagnosed.