Things got surreal fast Tuesday night on CNN when host Chris Cuomo went live for the first time since disclosing his positive test for the new coronavirus.
“Tonight’s show will be a little different,” Cuomo said from his basement. He urged viewers not to get “caught up in the numbers,” which can be “scary and out of context, but rather focus on what they know is the face of it for an overwhelming number who get sick.”
“And that face is mine,” he added. “I tested positive. Scary, yes, as you might imagine. But better me than you.” His voice cracked as he expressed his concern that he could have infected members of his family. “That is hurting me way more than anything the virus can do.”
“So let’s focus: Let’s use this example of me having it as proof that you can get it too, God forbid. We have to do everything we can to avoid being sick,” Cuomo continued. “We have to do it for ourselves, our families, and for those on the front lines who are saving the lives of people like me and many of you. Together as ever as one. That is our remedy.”
After delivering his regular “let’s get after it,” Cuomo assured viewers that he was feeling well enough to host his show, but added, “You don’t want this.”
An interview with Sanjay Gupta turned into an impromptu medical consultation as the CNN doctor told Cuomo, “I know you are saying you feel OK, but you look a little under the weather and I'm sorry, brother, I know you well and I’m sorry that you are feeling that way.”
“Well, I probably don’t look great because I have coronavirus,” Cuomo replied, calling himself a “fighter” compared to others who are “so much more vulnerable.”
The two men chatted for a few moments about the Trump administration’s evolving response to the crisis, but soon the conversation came back around to Cuomo’s health. After the host mentioned a “tightness in his chest,” Gupta said, “We don’t have to do it right now, but I’m going to call you and ask you more about that.”
“Tightness in the chest, pressure in the chest, especially if it’s getting worse, those are things I worry about,” the doctor added.