COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — A Howard County couple, who have been married for 50 years, and are the first to be treated together for COVID-19 at Johns Hopkins are now back on their feet.

Georgene and Gerry Stephens are back home living life together again after battling the virus.

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“The isolation was rough,” Gerry recalled.

Gerry went to Johns Hopkins Hospital on March 17 after developing a cough, fever, difficulty breathing and other symptoms of the virus.


“I figured this is just asthma getting worse,” he said. “(It) turned into double pneumonia, and that’s how I showed up in the emergency room.”

Days later, Georgene also had a hard time breathing and got tested.

“They said that I was positive. They sent me to Johns Hopkins where I was for about a day,” she said.

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She had a much less severe case of COVID-19 than Gerry did.

While Georgene was out in days, Gerry took weeks to recover, lost 35 pounds and had to relearn how to walk.

“It’s really hard to predict who’s going to develop worse disease than somebody else,”

Dr. Brian Garibaldi said their cases are examples of how the virus can affect people differently.

“He was on the breathing machine and then caring for her she was fortunately not quite as sick and was able to be discharged in days.”

Gerry and Georgene are now just glad to be holding hands again and they hope their cases serve as a reminder of just how serious COVID-19 can be.

“I think that people need to remember you know that 120,000 people in the United States that have died… it’s not a good way to die,”

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Stetson Miller