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Television

Chris Cuomo details ‘freaky’ night with coronavirus: ‘Like somebody was beating me like a piñata’

Chris Cuomo
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo delved into his COVID-19 experience on Wednesday’s at-home edition of “Cuomo Prime Time.”
(Evan Agostini / Associated Press)

A day after announcing his COVID-19 diagnosis, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo offered viewers a glimpse into the severe and “freaky” symptoms he’s been experiencing while quarantined in his home.

Filming Wednesday’s edition of “Cuomo Prime Time” from his basement, the veteran broadcast journalist gave a detailed breakdown of the feverish night he had with the respiratory illness, which raised his temperature to at least 103 degrees.

“This virus came at me — I’ve never seen anything like it,” the 49-year-old said, describing the effects of body-quaking “rigors.” “Yeah, I’ve had a fever, you’ve had a fever. But ... it was like somebody was beating me like a piñata. And I was shivering so much that ... I chipped my tooth.”

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The disease kept him up all night, he said, detailing a restless stupor in which he was haunted by the memory of his father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, as well as other people he “hadn’t seen in forever.” And he doesn’t expect to get much shut-eye for several nights to come.

“I’m telling you, I was hallucinating,” Cuomo continued. “It was freaky, what I lived through last night. And it may happen again tonight. Doctor says it may happen like five, eight times. I get it now. And if you match that with chest constriction and people can’t breathe, I totally get why we’re losing so many people and why our hospitals are so crowded.”

Despite his debilitating symptoms, the TV host expressed no desire to take any sick days, citing a responsibility to keep the public informed — not only about his own condition, but about the rapidly evolving global health crisis. He also gave a shout-out to his brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for continuing to do his job “to protect the people of this state.

“No one can sit on the sidelines right now — least of all somebody who’s been blessed with a platform to talk to you about it,” he said.

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“E.T.” and “Empire of the Sun” cinematographer Allen Daviau, jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz and music producer Hal Willner have all died from COVID-19.

The newscaster compared his relatively privileged situation to that of others who might not have access to as many resources while fighting the virus.

“It’s easy for someone like me. I’m lucky,” Cuomo said. “No matter how my journey goes with coronavirus, the life I have, the family I have to take care of me, the ability I have to self-quarantine and people bringing me food, and my wife and my kids — thank God.

“Look how lucky I got here. I want you to be thinking about everybody who’s not as lucky as I am, who are dealing with the same thing that I am and 10 times worse — especially after what I learned last night.”

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Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Pink, Idris Elba, Daniel Dae Kim, Andy Cohen and more have gone public with coronavirus diagnoses. And the list is growing.


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