Chris Cuomo Describes Hellish Night of Hallucinating His Dad and Shivering So Hard He Chipped His Tooth From Coronavirus


CNN anchor Chris Cuomo described his hellish coronavirus symptoms, which included hallucinating conversations with his late father, feeling like he was being beaten in the chest “like a piñata,” and shivering so hard he chipped a tooth.

Cuomo continued to host his show Wednesday, for the second night in a row since announcing he’d been diagnosed with the Covid-19 disease — against the on-air advice of Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who told Cuomo it’s okay to take a day off.

It was Gupta who revealed, at the top of the show, that Cuomo had shivered so hard from the disease that he chipped a tooth. But later in the show, Cuomo went on to detail the harrowing night he spent from the infection in succinct and impactful terms.

If you’ve seen the film Contagion, then Cuomo’s “Closing Argument” segment from Wednesday night might have reminded you of the Jude Law character’s video log, but in reverse. Law plays a villain who webcasts a fake illness and a fake cure in order to profit from the disease.

Cuomo broadcasting from his basement created a surreal stylistic match to that scene, but a stark character contrast.

He began by telling viewers he wished he’d gotten the disease sooner so he could have sounded the alarm that this is “no joke,” and pushed harder for President Donald Trump to take the pandemic seriously instead of mocking concern over its potential effects as a hoax.

He spoke in very human terms about the suffering of people like the emergency room doctor who was felled by the disease after reusing protective equipment, and the palpable pain his brother Andrew Cuomo felt at helplessly watching as his younger sibling was stricken with the illness.

He spoke with gratitude and humility of the relative blessings he enjoys, his full life, his ability to self-quarantine, the support of his close family.

Then, Cuomo described the previous night he’d endured with the virus.

I want you to be thinking about everybody who’s not as lucky as I am. Who are dealing with the same that I am in 10 times worse. Especially after what I learned last night. This virus came at me, I’ve never seen anything like it. Okay? So yeah I’ve had a fever, you’ve had a fever, but 102, 103, 103 plus, that wouldn’t quit, and it was like somebody was beating me like a piñata, and I was shivering so much that, Sanjay’s right, I chipped my tooth. These are not cheap.

And they call them the rigors, like rigors r i g o r s, but rigors, so the sun comes up, I’m awake, I was up all night, I’m telling you I was hallucinating, my dad was talking to me, I was seeing people from college, people I haven’t seen forever, it was freaky what I lived through last night. And it may happen again tonight. Doctor says it may happen like 5, 8 times.

You know, I get it now, and if you match that with chest constriction of people can’t breathe, I totally get why we’re losing so many people and why are hospitals are so crowded.

So here’s the message: don’t be me, but more importantly be better than we’re being right now. Care enough not just to stay home but to stay on our leaders, to make sure that they’re doing everything they can to limit this. I’m telling you this is the part of our lives we will live through and remember the most. How do you want to be remembered during this time?

There’s an impulse among the cynical to view this vérité spectacle as showboating, but anyone watching with a heart and mind as open as Cuomo’s knows that’s not the case. He’s not a doctor, he’s not a scientist, he is a journalist doing the very most he can with the tools at his disposal to deliver the message that even a strong, privileged, and powerful person like him gets no quarter from this pandemic.

But maybe it is time for a day off.

Watch the clip above via CNN.

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