This is what love looks like in the time of the coronavirus.

By Christina Oehler
May 13, 2020
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Earlier this year, Andrea Dello Russo was like any other bride-to-be. She and her fiancé, Robert "Bobby" Tretola, have been engaged since April 2019, and for the past year, Dello Russo has been planning her big day.

That all changed when the coronavirus pandemic hit, and stay-at-home orders were put in place. The couple had to move their wedding date back a year, but that turned out to be the least of their problems. In March, Dello Russo tested positive for COVID-19. But the headache of changing plans and her battle with a life-threatening virus has only made their love stronger—and this sweet viral photo is proof of that.

On April 28, Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey, posted a photo of Dello Russo, 35, and Tretola, 32, sharing a kiss in the emergency room, both dressed in PPE. Tretola is an EMT and Dello Russo is a physician assistant at the hospital. The couple managed to sneak in a romantic kiss after Tretola dropped a COVID-19 patient off in the ER, where Dello Russo works.

"Typically when Bobby is working on the ambulance he’ll say goodbye to me before he leaves. He knows that it’s been  stressful few weeks, so he decided to give me a little chuckle and lean in for a kiss with us wearing a masks on," Dello Russo tells Health. "This happened in front of the nurses station, which grabbed the attention of all the nurses. They said it was adorable and that we needed to reenact it for a photo, so we did."

Saint Barnabas Medical Center explained in their Instagram caption that Dello Russo had called the picture "a modern day kiss" when she shared it on her own Instagram page. The photo received hundreds of likes and dozens of comments on how romantic their sweet shot was.

But the weeks leading up to that photo were anything but adorable. On March 25, Dello Russo tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing several common coronavirus symptoms including body aches, chills, a fever, and fatigue. While Tretola never tested positive, he had to go into quarantine with Dello Russo. In sickness and in health, Tretola was there for his fiancé.

"Bobby took care great of me when I was sick. He made me hot bubble baths and kept making sure I was eating. He constantly was taking my temperature," she says.

Dello Russo recovered after seven days, and she returned to work at the hospital ER after testing negative for the virus. Though their wedding plans were put on hold and the two are overwhelmed at work these days as the pandemic continues, the challenges they face has brought them even closer together.

"Wedding planning through all this has definitely shifted and made us focus on our priorities," says Dello Russo. "It has certainly brought to light what is most important to us and how strong our support system is around us. We’ve practiced the skills of problem solving and sharing feelings much more because of this."

The two plan to be legally married on their original wedding date, July 18, but will save their "big fat Italian wedding" for fall 2021.

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