• The 44-year-old man and his 42-year-old wife both died on Dec. 19 due to complications from COVID-19
  • The two were unvaccinated and contracted coronavirus just days before their deaths
  • A GoFundMe page launched to support the couple's children has since raised more than $20,000

A couple in San Bernardino County, California, who were married for 25 years died on the same day in mid-December after they both contracted the coronavirus.

Alvaro and Sylvia Sanchez, aged 44 and 42, respectively, died hours apart on Dec. 19 due to complications from COVID-19, NBC 4 Southern California reported.

The Loma Linda couple tested positive for the virus just days before their deaths, according to family members. It was unclear how the two contracted COVID-19.

Alvaro and Sylvia were described as "very close" by the former's brother, Salvador Fernandez.

"They were high school sweethearts. They've been together since [Sylvia] was 15. One couldn't live without the other," Salvador said.

Alvaro reportedly suffered from underlying health problems, including diabetes, prior to his death. Both he and Sylvia were unvaccinated.

"[Alvaro] wanted to wait and do more research. He Googled information. He didn't want to believe everything that was on the news," Alma Hernandez, Alvaro's sister, was quoted as saying.

However, the couple's deaths have been "an eye-opener" for the family, according to Hernandez.

"Whoever is not vaccinated definitely should have their vaccinations," the sister said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that COVID-19 vaccines are "safe and effective" and that serious safety problems following vaccination are "rare."

Alvaro and Sylvia left behind four children, Emily, Daniel, Destinee and Nicholas.

A GoFundMe page was launched to provide support for the couple's family, and it has since raised $20,645 out of its initial $30,000 goal.

San Bernardino has recorded 383,706 COVID-19 cases and 6,010 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the county's publicly available data.

The U.S., overall, has reported 55,121,185 coronavirus cases and 826,061 deaths as of Sunday, data provided by Johns Hopkins University showed.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in California reportedly rose in the previous week by about 12% to 4,401. The spread is being blamed on the Omicron variant of the virus, which experts believe is easily spread from person to person.

Full vaccinated individuals are still susceptible to the most recent variant, but health officials said they are far less likely to become severely ill, wind up hospitalized or die if infected.

Representation. High school sweethearts Alvaro and Sylvia Sanchez, aged 44 and 42, respectively, both tested positive for COVID-19 days before they died on Dec. 19. Pixabay