During Monday night’s broadcast of his primetime show, Cuomo — broadcasting live from the basement where he’s been quarantined away from his family since testing positive for COVID-19 — updated CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on his health.
While he said he’s feeling better and his breathing is “getting stronger,” the journalist, 49, admitted he’s frustrated by the lingering symptoms of the virus two weeks later.
“I’m scared by this. I’m scared by the potential of this, and it frustrates me because I can’t get out of this basement,” he said. “I still have this low-grade fever. I can’t shake it. And I know everybody tells me it’s gradual, it takes time, it’s anywhere between two to three and a half weeks — but it is maddening. To have this little, stupid fever.”
“And I am a metaphor for the country,” he continued. “I’m ready to get out of the basement. I’m sick of being sick. I’ve had it, I want to get back to work. But I’m not ready. And I don’t have a plan to be ready. That’s where we are right now.”
.@chriscuomo shares an update on his own battle with coronavirus:
“I’m ready to get out of the basement. I’m sick of being sick. I’ve had it. I want to get back to work. But I’m not ready and I don’t have a plan to be ready.” https://t.co/hxZmIKRlAW pic.twitter.com/H5vzjdj9KV
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) April 14, 2020
Cuomo spoke openly about the psychological impact the virus has had on him.
“This virus creates emotional illness and creates psychological illness. I’m telling you, it is in my head,” he said. “Not just figuratively, in terms of messing with you because you’re sick for a long time — it is causing people depression and it’s creating brain fog and it’s creating edginess in people. … I am experiencing that.”
“It messes with your head, this virus. And I don’t know where it leaves you afterwards,” he admitted. “And the experts I’m talking to are saying to me, increasingly, ‘Yes, we’ve seen that. But how do you treat it and what does it mean down the road? We don’t know.'”
“We’re going to learn a lot of things,” he warned. “And that’s even more reason to make sure that we keep as few people from getting it as possible.”
He also took a moment to address the “good fortune” of his own circumstances.
“Not everybody has the good fortune that I do to have a Sanjay on speed dial. And you are a gift,” he told Gupta. “Thank you for helping me get through this.”
“I’m as good it gets,” he continued, addressing his viewers. “I have the means, I have the ability to be in a nice place, isolated by myself. I’ve got a wife who is killing herself to take care of me, and my family. I’ve got every box checked. My job is secure, as far as I know. Imagine when you have none of those things. It is really important for us to stay connected with what’s going on.”
Cuomo’s wife of 19 years, Cristina, opened up about how she’s been nursing him back to health in an interview with Extra‘s Billy Bush.
“I stand at the top of the stairs and there’s a landing there. I put a food tray down … I have my gloves and mask,” she said. “He comes to the stairs and we hang out.”
Cristina, who runs a wellness website, The Purist, said she’s been focusing on preparing healthy meals for her husband.
“Food is medicine, too, so our whole effort was to build back his immune system,” she said. “We integrated things his doctors suggested like Tylenol and Allegra-D, but most importantly, it was the good foods and the herbs, the oxygenated herbs. And obviously the vitamins were critical for this and necessary right now.”
“I put together sort of a clean diet that didn’t put stress on his liver, and I didn’t want to tax his bodily functions so that all the energy was focused on digesting fatty foods,” she explained. “So, you need a lot of soups, lentil soup, chicken soups, legumes, vegetable soups, which are always good when someone is sick.”
Cuomo has been candid about his battle with the virus, citing the experience as one reason for reassessing his career and position as a public figure during his SiriusXM show on Monday.
“I don’t want to spend my time doing things that I don’t think are valuable enough to me, personally. Like what? Well, I don’t like what I do, professionally, I’ve decided,” he said, as reported by the New York Post. “I don’t think it’s worth my time.”
“I’m basically being perceived as successful in a system that I don’t value,” he continued. “I’m seen as being good at being on TV and advocating for different positions … but I don’t know if I value those things, certainly not as much as I value being able to live my life on my own terms.”
Citing an incident from this past weekend when a stranger on a motorcycle allegedly confronted him outside his home, Cuomo reportedly said he wished he could have told the biker to “go to hell.”
“That matters to me more than making millions of dollars a year … because I’ve saved my money and I don’t need it anymore,” he said, per the Post. “I want to be able to tell you to go to hell, to shut your mouth … I don’t get that doing what I do for a living.”
“I have to tolerate people’s opinion about me because I’m a public figure,” he continued. “I don’t want to do that, I don’t think it’s worth it to me.”