Two COVID-19 survivors are not sharing their stories to scare people — they want people to know it's reality, and they want more people to start getting real about this pandemic.
Gena Ross and Joanna Wilson contracted and beat COVID-19 in the spring. Their stories are complicated and it still affects them today.
"You don't know if you can get it again and it's pretty scary," Ross said.
"I had a minor case compared to my husband, but when he went to the hospital I had no idea and neither did he that he would not make it," Wilson said.
Wilson has spoken out before about losing her husband, Dennis, in March. He was the first person in Johnson County to die from the virus.
"There was nothing we could do. Nothing. We were helpless, and that just blows my mind," Wilson said. "And you don't know how it's going to affect you."
Wilson and Ross have messages for the community as cases continue to rise to levels not previously seen.
"Just wear your mask," Ross said. "Some people don't believe in wearing masks; just do it out of respect for other people. Just be courteous because you don't know what another person has been through."
Ross said she believes she contracted the virus in March while out campaigning for Missouri's 6th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives..
She was hospitalized twice and suffered through all the symptoms. She said she thought she was going to die.
"The first question I was asked is, 'If you stop breathing do you want us to resuscitate you?' So I knew I was bad off," Ross said.
She finally recovered a few months later but said she still tires more easily and notices she gets short of breath more often.
Wilson got sick with the virus when her husband died. She had to navigate quarantining in an empty house while planning a funeral and recovering all during a global pandemic.
She said Dennis was healthy and fit. He died six days after going to the hospital.
Wilson also stresses the importance of wearing a mask.
"It's a minor inconvenience to wear a mask but it's very minor in comparison to what happens with the virus," Wilson said.