While states grapple with how to jump-start their economies, some have begun to open nonessential businesses like movie theaters and hair salons. Now, a guest on The Tamron Hall Show has shared a heartbreaking story that drives home how sheltering in place could not only save your life, but also the people you love. 

Detroit educator Latresa Rice met her soulmate, Albert Barber, when he sent her a Facebook “wave.” One year later, Barber moved from his home state of South Carolina to wed the love of his life. The two were married last October, but just five months later, Rice has found herself a widow. Her 39-year-old husband’s life was claimed by the coronavirus, and she believes he acquired it after getting a haircut at the barbershop. 

“Two weeks before all of this happened, I was on a business trip to California. I came back with no symptoms and he was fine. It wasn’t until that Saturday when he went to the barbershop and he came back and then that Sunday he said he had a cough. And it just progressed from there,” said Rice.

Rice notes that Barber began coughing a day after going to the barbershop to get a haircut. 

“Tuesday he was throwing up, he could barely breathe. Wednesday he was having a hard time standing. Thursday, we called the hospital. I got sick that Monday evening in which I had a fever but Thursday when we called the hospital, we were told that our symptoms were not severe enough to receive the test and no one was going to test us,” said Rice. 

Not only was the hospital unfazed about the couple’s symptoms, personnel recommended lemon water treatments and Tylenol as a remedy — a suggestion even Hall responded to with disbelief. 

“That was the medical advice you received from the hospital?” Hall asked incredulously. 

Sadly, Rice had not yet been able to file the paperwork that would allow her to take her husband’s last name. What's worse is that due to the circumstances, she was unable to see her love laid to rest.

Rice had to have two memorials. One viewing was in Detroit where only 10 people could pay their respects at the in-person viewing. Then, her husband's remains were transported back to Columbia, South Carolina, to be with his family. Rice couldn’t attend, however. She was still exhibiting symptoms and could not travel. 

That said, Rice still believes that social distancing mandates are important and save lives. She urges you to value your loved ones and follow safety guidelines, instead of considering any immediate gratifications.

“Don’t take life for granted. Things are in place to save your life, not to take life from you. If you would just wait and take the time and do what they’re telling you to do now. … You can wait until later. Lives are at stake," she said. "Even though you may feel fine, you may be carrying this virus and not know it. And you could pass it on to somebody you love. If you truly love the people you claim you love, then stay home.”

As the globe desperately tries to quell COVID-19’s destruction, a number of disturbing stories have suggested Black people showing symptoms are not being taken seriously. Recently, a Black Detroit nurse died of COVID-19 after seeking aid from the hospital where she had worked for 31 years, as Blavity previously reported. She was turned away four times. Additionally, 36-year-old, South London mom Kayla Williams was not considered a “priority” by healthcare workers after exhibiting symptoms. When the paramedics finally came, they diagnosed her with COVID-19 but did not take her to the hospital. She later died at her apartment after succumbing to the illness.