CNN primetime news anchor Chris Cuomo has tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Cuomo, who’s received attention for interviewing his brother, New York State governor Andrew Cuomo, about the battle against the pandemic, said in a post on Twitter that he will continue recording his nightly news show from his basement.
In a statement, CNN said Cuomo’s symptoms are mild.
“I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fevers, chills and shortness of breath,” Cuomo wrote. “I just hope I didn’t give it to the kids and Christina. That would make me feel worse than this illness!”
Cuomo represents the third case of coronavirus at CNN in New York City, the company said. Another case was announced to employees in the middle of March.
“CNN has implemented sweeping changes in response to the pandemic,” the network said. “The vast majority of CNN employees have been working from home for several weeks. Anchors have been broadcasting from small studios and home offices. And office spaces are being regularly cleaned.”
The governor, whose approval ratings have surged along with his national profile as he’s led New York’s response to the outbreak, has appeared as a guest on Chris Cuomo’s show remotely at least four times in March alone.
On Monday, Chris ribbed his brother, the governor, or whether Andrew plans to turn his newfound fame and good press into a presidential campaign, in just the most recent example of their unusual and often comic Cuomo-on-Cuomo interviews.
“Are you thinking about running for president? Tell the audience,” Chris said.
“No, no,” Andrew repeated. “But you’re a great interviewer, by the way.”
“Appreciate it. Learned from the best,” Chris said.
On Tuesday, the governor expressed relief that their mother, who had previously been staying with Chris, departed a couple of weeks ago.
“I said, ‘You can’t have mom at the house.’ And he said, “‘No, no mom is lonely. She wants to be at the house,” Governor Cuomo told a news conference on Tuesday moments after Chris revealed he’d tested positive for COVID-19, which is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Eventually, she left, and the experience should be a teachable moment for everyone dealing with the pandemic, Andrew Cuomo said.
“Remember who is vulnerable here and protect them,” Cuomo said. “You can cause a serious illness or even death for them by your actions.”
Governor Cuomo said his brother remains in high spirits despite his diagnosis.
“Now he’s quarantined in the basement but he’s funny as heck,” governor Cuomo said, adding that his brother jokes that “even the dogs won’t come downstairs.”
The brothers’ back-and-forth on CNN often veers into goofball brotherly ribbing, as it did on Monday night.
“You’ve always been the meatball of the family,” Andrew told Chris. “Some of us have to work, right? I don’t have the luxury of working one hour a day,” he said, apparently referring to the length of Chris’ interview show.
Many viewers have received their banter as welcome comic relief in the midst of a heavy and often humorless national crisis.
Others question whether it’s appropriate for a major national figure to grant repeated exclusive interviews to his own brother. The Washington Post’s Dan Zak criticized the arrangement after Monday night’s encounter.
“I simply do not understand how a media outlet — that takes itself seriously — allows a journalist to interview a public official who is his brother, regardless of how dispassionate or rigorous the journalist is,” Zak wrote. “I know some of you find it amusing but come on.”
Cover: CNN's Chris Cuomo during an interview with host Seth Meyers on August 1, 2019 (Photo: Lloyd Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)