COVID-19 has affected millions worldwide; even celebrities and politicians are not immune. Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson were among the first celebs to publicly acknowledge that they’d contracted the virus. While Hanks and Wilson recovered, others weren’t so lucky. COVID has claimed the lives of legendary New Orleans jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis, Jr.; singer and musician Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, and Broadway actor Nick Cordero, among others.
Fortunately, most people who contract COVID survive, but the symptoms can be debilitating and persist long after one tests negative for the virus. Several well-known public figures who have contracted COVID and made it through the other side have advice for others on how to avoid catching this virus.
Fitness entrepreneur Jillian Michaels contracted the illness and warned others not to go to the gym, suggesting that “if you are afraid of getting COVID, a public gym is probably a place where you will get it.” Even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson contracted the virus, although he and his family are now recovering. In an Instagram video to fans, he urged everyone to “wear your masks,” adding “I’m not a politician. I don’t care what political party you’re affiliated with. I don’t care what part of the world you’re from. I don’t care what your skin color is, what your job is, what your bank account says. I don’t care. And I do not want you or your entire family to get COVID-19.”
Pitch Perfect actress Anna Camp expressed a similar message, noting that the one time she didn’t wear a mask was the time she ended up getting COVID. “Please wear your mask. It can happen any time. And it can happen to anyone. Even that one time you feel safe. We can all make a difference. Wearing a mask is saving lives.” Camp said that even a month after her diagnosis she was still dealing with symptoms like “dizziness, extreme fatigue, impacted sinuses, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and fever.”
Actress Rosie Perez was one of the first celebrities to have contracted COVID, in December of 2019. She contracted the illness when she flew to Bangkok to film the TV series, The Flight Attendant. She describes her experience as “terrifying,” relating that a doctor stressed the importance of wearing a mask to her. “The mask that you have on, the mask that I have on, every time you go outside, every time you meet someone wear that mask — not just for you, but to protect them too.”
Singer Trey Songz also battled COVID. Like The Rock, he took to Instagram to open up to his fans. “Here with a very important message to let you know that I tested positive for COVID-19,” he wrote. “I will be taking it seriously, I will be self-quarantining. I will be in my house until I see a negative sign.” He urged his fans to take it seriously as well, saying “If you come in contact with COVID, please do the same. Please do the same. Much love and peace, y’all. I thank you in advance for your support [and] your love.”
Other celebrities expressed the need for compassion for others during a pandemic. Lena Dunham, actress and creator of the show Girls, stated on her Instagram that “It is critical we are all sensible and compassionate at this time…because, there is truly no other choice.” Some who contracted the illness made sure to give thanks to the healthcare workers who were dealing with such an unprecedented event. 60 Minutes anchor Leslie Stahl spent two weeks in bed (“weak, fighting pneumonia, and really scared”) until she went to the hospital to recover.
“I found an overworked, nearly overwhelmed staff,” Stahl told People Magazine. “Every one of them [was] kind, sympathetic, gentle, and caring from the moment I arrived until the moment days later when I was wheeled out through a gauntlet of cheering medical workers.”In the face of so much death, they celebrate their triumphs.”
Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston, who was sick in July, suffers from symptoms of COVID months later. Appealing to others to “wear the damn mask,” Cranston said that he is still lacking some of his ability to smell and taste. “I think about 75 percent has come back, but if someone was brewing coffee and I walk into a kitchen, I can’t smell it.”
Actor Hugh Grant spoke about his experience with COVID with his typical brand of humour. “It started as just a very strange syndrome where I kept breaking into a terrible sweat. It was like a poncho of sweat, embarrassing really,” said Grant. “Then my eyeballs felt about three sizes too big and this feeling as though some enormous man was sitting on my chest, sort of Harvey Weinstein or someone.”
“I thought, ‘I don’t know what this is,’ and then I was walking down the street one day and I though, ‘I can’t smell a damn thing,’ and you start to panic,” he added. “And you get more and more desperate — I started sniffing in garbage cans. You know, you want to sniff strangers’ armpits because you just can’t smell anything.”
Kim Kardashian discussed how scary it was taking care of four kids and husband Kanye West when he came down with COVID earlier in the year. Kanye himself described his symptoms to Forbes: “Chills, shaking in the bed, taking hot showers, looking at videos telling me what I’m supposed to do to get over it. I remember someone had told me Drake had the coronavirus and my response was Drake can’t be sicker than me!” (As of this writing, Drake has not had coronavirus.)
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