CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin has revealed new details about her ‘very dark’ battle with coronavirus, confessing that the horrific symptoms she suffered left her in tears every night.
The 40-year-old, who first revealed that she had contracted COVID-19 on April 3, opened up about her fight against the novel virus in a new essay for CNN, in which she detailed the ‘full two-week beating’ her body endured.
‘It took a full two-week beating on my body. I went to some very dark places, especially at night,’ Baldwin shared, adding: ‘Under the influence of coronavirus, as each day came to a close, I would often cry, unable to stave off the sense of dread and isolation I felt about what was to come.’
‘Very dark’: CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin has opened up about her battle with COVID-19, detailing the painful symptoms that left her in tears every night
Brutal: The 40-year-old said that she has not experienced any trouble breathing, but revealed she lost all sense of taste and smell, and suffered horrific body aches, fevers, and chills
Although she ‘considers herself one of the lucky ones’, Baldwin’s symptoms were incredibly tough to deal with – particularly the horrific body aches that she faced every day, as well as a total loss of taste and smell, which was one of the first indications that she had contracted the novel virus.
‘I can remember the day before I lost my ability to taste or smell. I kept smelling the acrid ammonia-like odor of jewelry cleaner,’ she revealed. ‘Except there wasn’t any jewelry cleaner in sight.
‘By the next morning — wham — I couldn’t taste the salted butter on my toast, and couldn’t catch a whiff of the peppermint in my tea.’
Thankfully, Baldwin says she never struggled with her breathing, nor did ‘her version of the virus’ attack her lungs in the same ‘suffocating’ way that so many other patients have experienced.
‘Even though my body constantly gave me the middle finger, my lungs did not,’ she wrote.
However, while her lungs remained healthy, Baldwin suffered awful fevers, chills, and body aches, as well as glandular swelling under her jaw.
‘Along with my appetite, my energy was also zapped,’ she shared. ‘I slept easily 10-12 hours at night, waking many mornings soaking wet having sweat through the sheets.
‘A golf-ball sized gland swelling under my jaw became the daily sign that my body was fighting.’
Ups and downs: Baldwin documented some of her struggles on Instagram, but revealed in her essay for CNN that she grew too tired even to pose for pictures
Agony: One of the worst things about the virus, Baldwin revealed, was the feeling that she would never recover
Baldwin says that one of the scariest things about the virus was the terrifying feeling that she might never recover; she shared that there were days when the fevers and chills would ‘leave just long enough to fool me into thinking I was finally recovering’, before once again ravaging her body.
‘I never knew when it would end. It was relentless, scary, and lonely,’ she said.
The CNN anchor explained that she and her husband, James Fletcher, did their best to keep social distance after she began displaying symptoms, revealing that the couple slept in separate bedrooms and used different bathrooms for the first few days fo her illness.
However, after watching his wife become sicker and sicker, it ‘became impossible’ for Fletcher to stay away from her, with Baldwin sharing that ‘in her darker moments’, he would simply hold her as she cried.
‘These simple acts of connecting with me and hugging me were restorative beyond measure,’ she said, revealing that the loneliness she experienced while fighting the virus alone ‘might have been worse than the body aches’.
Luckily, her husband has yet to suffer from any symptoms of the novel virus, and the couple remain hopeful that he has not contracted it, or that he is asymptomatic, like GMA anchor George Stephanopoulos, who tested positive for COVID-19, but did not suffer from any symptoms.
As well as paying tribute to her ‘selfless husband’, Baldwin says that the virus has also enabled her to better appreciate how important and effective human connection is when it comes to maintaining her health and happiness.
She thanked the thousands of people who sent her well wishes, from her family members to her friends to old acquaintances she hasn’t spoken to in years – including her dentist, and DJ Jazzy Jeff, who also suffered a bad bout of the illness, and reached out with a message of support.
Diagnosis: Baldwin said that she had followed all social distancing recommendations and does not know how she contracted the virus
Message: The journalist announced her diagnosis in an Instagram post on April 3
In this together: Baldwin’s colleague Chris Cuomo, 49, tested positive for coronavirus days before she revealed that she had contracted the illness
Baldwin also expressed gratitude for the ‘clarity’ that she has experienced while battling COVID-19, explaining that being isolated without the distractions of everyday life has allowed her to spend more time thinking and ‘feeling’ about everything from her work to her family.
‘When I was sick and my body came to a screeching halt, I stopped doing and started really feeling,’ she said.
‘I found myself thinking about joy (“Why don’t I go to the beach way more often?!”); about my work (“I really would like to create a TV series helping empower women”); about my mother (“Mom, go get on that treadmill that has been collecting dust in your basement! I need you around a lot longer.” And dammit, she finally did); and about the beautiful interdependence of my marriage (“See how good it feels to let him take care of you — let him do this more. You don’t always have to be so damn independent and self-reliant.”).
‘In the quiet of my quarantine, I was able to more purely isolate my gratitude and my values.’
The candid essay comes just over two weeks after Baldwin first revealed she had contracted the novel virus on Instagram, just days after her colleague Chris Cuomo tested positive for COVID-19.
‘I’ve tested positive for the coronavirus,’ she wrote in the April 3 post. ‘I am OKAY. It came on suddenly yesterday afternoon. Chills, aches, fever.’
‘I’ve been social distancing. Doing ALL the things we’re being told to do. Still — it got me,’ she continued. ‘I’m healthy… No underlying conditions…’
‘Honestly, I feel like one of the lucky ones,’ she added. ‘I look forward to being back on [television] and seeing you real soon. And shout out to the doctors and the nurses who are doing the real work right now.’