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Rich or famous, no escaping the sting of the coronavirus


With the help of world media, COVID CAPERS recalls some of the more well-known personalities who felt the brutal sting of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for the virus last December, after a week in which he met with other leaders from the European Union, CNN reported. This led to some leaders announcing they would self-quarantine.

Ellen DeGeneres, the comedienne, talk show host and NBC game show host, said in December that she had the coronavirus but thankfully is “feeling fine right now,” according to People magazine.

Gloria Estefan, the Florida-based Cuban singer and superstar, tested positive in November 2020. “…I just wanted you to know just in case I can be helpful in whatever way. I love you all. Stay healthy, stay safe and looking forward to a better year next year for sure,” People quoted her as telling fans.

Lewis Hamilton, who is hero-worshipped by legions of racing car fans, also got the coronavirus in December 2020. CNN quoted his Mercedes team as saying that Hamilton found out he had been exposed to the virus prior to the Bahrain Grand Prix. In his own social media post, Hamilton wrote: “I’m really lucky that I feel ok with only mild symptoms and will do my best to stay fit and healthy.”

Rosie Perez, the Latina actress, belatedly announced she had contracted the virus almost a year before while travelling in Bangkok to film her upcoming HBO Max series, The Flight Attendant. “It was terrifying,” she continued. “I remember my manager was with me, and I said, ‘Tarik, don’t let me die in Bangkok’. And he goes, ‘Oh my God, you’re scaring me’. And the head of the ICU says, ‘You should be scared, sir. This is serious’,” Uproxx reported Perez as saying.

Then United States President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania shocked the world when they revealed that they too had been hit by the virus. Their son, Barron, later tested positive. The former president had mostly downplayed the coronavirus and refused to wear a mask. Trump spent three days at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before returning to the White House.

Donald Trump Jr, the first son of President Trump, tested positive for corona in November 2020. Like his father, Don Jr had continuously downplayed the severity of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, People reported. His girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle had tested positive months before.

Hugh Grant, the British actor, also belatedly announced in November that he and possibly his wife had contracted the virus back in February. He told talk show host Stephen Colbert that it started as “just a very strange syndrome where I kept breaking into a terrible sweat” and recalled that his “eyeballs felt about three sizes too big” and that he felt “as though some enormous man was sitting on my chest.

“I thought, ‘I don’t know what this is’, and then I was walking down the street one day and I thought, ‘I can’t smell a damn thing’, and you start to panic.” Further, Grant was reported as saying he resorted to sniffing flowers and still couldn’t pick up a scent. “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.”

Prince Charles, the prince of Wales, led the royal family in contracting the virus. ‘It’s been nearly two weeks since Charles, 71, last saw his mother Queen Elizabeth’, Buckingham Palace wailed in a press statement, probably to reassure that the monarch herself was safe.

Prince William, Charles’ first child, was reported by the Sun newspaper to have contracted the virus shortly after his father. The newspaper said an unnamed source had said: “William was hit pretty hard by the virus… it really knocked him for six. At one stage he was struggling to breathe, so obviously everyone around him was pretty panicked.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain was diagnosed on March 27, 2020. Ten days after, he was hospitalised when he continued to have “persistent symptoms of coronavirus”. He later thanked black nurses for saving his life.

Khloe Kardashian, the reality star, got the virus in March and told Ellen DeGeneres: “We all were like there’s no way I could have COVID. I still was just very diligent, wearing masks, and we got tested, the whole family got tested, and my results were positive… I was quarantined in my room for like 16 days… I mean, I don’t care how beautiful of a place you have, being taken away from your child for that long, because I couldn’t be around my daughter, that was the most heart-wrenching thing.”

Vanessa Williams, the former Miss America and actress/singer, after disclosing her positive COVID test, told The Dr Oz Show: “I had the aches, I had gastro issues and severe headache. I had the dry cough. But luckily I distanced myself from everybody, quarantined for 14 days. Nobody saw me and I made it through on the other end.”

Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese soccer superstar, tested positive in October and had to miss some games in the UEFA Nations League Tournament, while causing the rest of the Portuguese team to undergo testing.

Kanye West, the US rapper, contracted the virus in February 2020, his wife Kim Kardashian revealed to Grazia. “It was so scary and unknown. I had my four babies and no one else in the house to help,” she said. West himself noted of his symptoms: “Chills, shaking in the bed, taking hot showers, looking at videos telling me what I’m supposed to do to get over it…”

Vivica A Fox, the American actress, had to miss being a special correspondent for the 2020 Emmys pre-show after getting the virus. “During these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that we follow all safety and health rules and guidelines to protect ourselves and each other,” she said.

Robert Pattinson, the Twilight actor, got the virus in the midst of filming the movie The Batman in England, Vanity Fair reported. It caused a second halt in production, the first being in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic swept through the world.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, the US actor, revealed on Instagram that he and his wife, Lauren Hashian, and their daughters Jasmine, four, and Tiana, two, all tested positive for the virus.

“I could tell you that this has been one of the most challenging and difficult things we have ever had to endure as a family, and for me, too, personally as well. And I’ve gone through some doozies in the past,” Johnson said.

Johnson added that he and his family contracted the contagious respiratory virus from family friends, whom he said were “devastated” that they unwittingly spread the virus. He encouraged his followers to be careful about how they are socialising, to boost their immune systems with vitamins and to wear a mask.

Usain Bolt, the Jamaican superstar and world’s fastest man, was confirmed positive in August. CBS News reported Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton as saying: “It is now public knowledge that Mr Bolt has tested positive. He has been formally notified, I’m told by the authorities.”

Antonio Banderas, the Spanish actor, announced his positive diagnosis on his 60th birthday, saying on Twitter: “I want to make public that today, the 10th of August, I am forced to celebrate my 60th birthday in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19… I would like to add that I’m relatively fine, just a little bit more tired than usual and hoping that I will recover as soon as possible, by following the doctor’s indications that I hope will allow me to get over the infection that I’m suffering and is affecting so many people around the planet.”

Alyssa Milano, the American actress, revealed on Instagram that she tested positive for COVID-19 after falling ill. “I had never been this kind of sick… Everything hurt. Loss of smell. It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t keep food in me. I lost nine pounds in two weeks. I was confused. Low-grade fever. And the headaches were horrible… I also want you to know, this illness is not a hoax. I thought I was dying. It felt like I was dying.”

Herman Cain, the former Republican presidential hopeful, businessman and media personality contracted COVID-19 and subsequently died. He had attended President Trump’s June 20, 2020 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where many in the crowds were seen not wearing face masks or practising social distancing. Some of the other attendees at the event also tested positive.

Novak Djokovic, Croatian tennis pro, was diagnosed positive on June 23, noting on his official website that his wife, Jelena, had also tested positive. He made the announcement shortly after a tennis event he organised in Zadar, Croatia, came under fire for potentially exposing athletes to the virus, according to CNN. Two other participants tested positive, prompting the quick cancellation of the tournament.

Andrea Bocelli, the blind Italian singer, confirmed in May that he had the coronavirus, ET Canada reported. As a result, he decided to donate plasma for research purposes. Bocelli said his wife and kids had the virus too.

Patrick Ewing, the Jamaican-born Georgetown University basketball coach, was hospitalised after testing positive for the virus, he announced on Twitter. “This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones,” he cautioned.

Madonna, the Truth or Dare superstar, said in May on Instagram that she fell ill while on her Madame X tour with what she thought was a “very bad flu” that turned out to be COVID-19. “And just to clear things up for people who would rather believe sensationalist headlines than do their own research about the nature of this virus — I am not currently sick.

“When you test positive for anti-bodies it means you HAD the virus which I clearly did as I was sick at the end of my tour in Paris over seven weeks ago, along with many other artistes in my show. But at the time we all thought we had a very bad flu… Hope that clears things up for the band wagon jumpers!! Knowledge is Power! #covid19”.

Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds said on Instagram in April 2020 he and his family had got the virus. “It’s an incredibly scary thing to go through my friends. I am happy to report we have now tested negative and are on our way back to full health.”

Pink, the singer, disclosed that she and her three-year-old son were showing symptoms of coronavirus before she officially tested positive. “This illness is serious and real. People need to know that the illness affects the young and old, healthy and unhealthy, rich and poor, and we must make testing free and more widely accessible to protect our children, our families, our friends and our communities.”

To help the cause, she announced she was donating $500,000 to the Temple University Hospital Emergency Fund in Philadelphia in honour of her mother, Judy Moore, and $500,000 to the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Emergency COVID-19 Crisis Fund.

Placido Domingo, the opera singer, said on Facebook March 22 that after his diagnosis he and his family were all in self-isolation for as long as it is deemed medically necessary.” Following his announcement, Domingo spent a week in hospital in Acapulco, Mexico before being discharged.

Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets basketball star, and three of his team mates tested positive for coronavirus in March. “Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine,” Durant told reporter Shams Charania of The Athletic after the news broke. “We’re going to get through this.”

Idris Elba, the British actor and superstar, announced he and his wife Dowhre got the virus a week apart. “It sucks,” he told fans. “Looks, this is serious. Now’s the time to really think about social distancing, washing your hands.”

Tom Hanks, announced on Instagram: “Hello, folks. Rita (his wife) and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.”

Coming Wednesday in COVID CAPERS: ‘I think I may have killed my 85-year-old grandmother!’

Share your COVID-19 experience and help to save someone’s life. Email it to allend@jamaicaobserver.com or riffraph54@gmail.com

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