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Music

Jackson Browne has the coronavirus and a message for young people: ‘Don’t go anywhere’

Jackson Browne
Singer-songwriter Jackson Browne says he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

California singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, 71, has tested positive for the coronavirus and has something to say about it.

“So many people that have it aren’t going to be tested. ... They don’t have symptoms, but they might have it and might be able to pass it on,” Browne told Rolling Stone upon revealing his diagnosis late Tuesday.

“That’s what younger readers need to understand: They need to take part in the global response to stop the spread. That means not going anywhere, not getting into contact with anybody, not seeing anybody.”

The “Running on Empty” hitmaker can’t pinpoint exactly where or when he contracted the respiratory illness but has a hunch that he got it earlier this month during a trip to the annual Love Rocks NYC Benefit. That event also featured Cyndi Lauper, Dave Matthews, Warren Haynes, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks.

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Now he wishes he hadn’t gone: “How much simpler would it have been had I just called in and said, ‘No, I’m not going to travel on a cross-country flight and spend two days in New York with all these people that are singing all over the country’?”

After experiencing a “small cough and a temperature,” Browne got tested and has been under strict quarantine for approximately 10 days — “not that long, but it feels like forever.”

“My symptoms are really pretty mild, so I don’t require any kind of medication and certainly not hospitalization or anything like that,” he said, despite being part of the most at-risk population because of his age.

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When fighting a pandemic, though, Browne insisted to Rolling Stone that how old a person is — or even whether someone has the virus or not — shouldn’t affect the individual response to the public health crisis.

“The prognosis for what to do once you test positive is pretty much the same as if you don’t test positive, which is to stay put,” he said. “And stay self-quarantined. Don’t expose anybody. Don’t go anywhere.”

Terrence McNally, whose varied and prolific career as a playwright, musical librettist and screenwriter earned him five Tony Awards and an Emmy, died Tuesday.

In addition to the elderly and immunocompromised, Jackson added that young, healthy people should be wary of the outbreak, too.

“It’s obvious that the one thing you can do to make a difference in everyone’s chances is to quarantine yourself,” Browne said. “There’s no guarantee that because you’re young, you’re not going to be affected by this. The thing we should all be very aware of is by traveling around the city and moving this germ from place to place, inadvertently, you are risking the lives of everybody, including the most vulnerable.”


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