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11 stars reveal what coronavirus is really like: their symptoms and experience

The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting us all

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Jenni McKnight
US Lifestyle Editor
April 15, 2020
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COVID-19 has seen us all change our way of life in recent months. Social distancing, lockdown measures and closures of "non-essential" shops have become commonplace. Since the virus was labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, it has spread to at least 185 countries and territories, with 1.9million cases recorded globally. And it can affect any one of us, including celebrities, royals and politicians. Let's take a look at some of those famous faces who have shared their coronavirus symptoms and experiences…

Rita Wilson

American actress Rita Wilson was among the first wave of celebrities to reveal a positive test result for the virus. Initially quarantined in Australia, where she was staying with husband Tom Hanks who also tested positive, Rita has since given her first interview since recovering from COVID-19. Speaking on The Talk with Gayle King, the 63-year-old revealed that her fever reached "close to 39C", she said: "I felt extremely achy, uncomfortable, didn't want to be touched, and then the fever started." She added that she had suffered "chills like I never had before".

Rita was given malaria drug chloroquine, which so far has no scientific evidence to prove it works against the virus, which "had extreme side effects". "I can only tell you that I don't know if the drug worked or if it was just time for my fever to break, but my fever did break," she added. Although she was left "completely nauseous" and unable to walk. "My muscles felt very weak," she said. "I think people have to be very considerate about that drug. We don't really know if it's helpful in this case."

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Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks doesn't appear to have suffered as extreme symptoms as his wife Rita Wilson. In his initial Instagram post where he revealed their diagnosis, Tom said: "We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too." One week into the illness, Tom added: "One week after testing Positive, in self-isolation, the symptoms are much the same. No fever but the blahs. Folding the laundry and doing the dishes leads to a nap on the couch."

MORE: The UK travel industry is working to give NHS staff free holidays after lockdown

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Linda Lusardi

Former Dancing on Ice star Linda Lusardi ended up in intensive care while battling coronavirus. During a call with Good Morning Britain last week, the 61-year-old admitted she wasn't sure she was going to survive the deadly disease. "It was absolutely horrendous. I thank God I'm one of the lucky ones that got through it," she said. "The second night I was there, I tested negative first of all, a doctor came in and was washing his hands and I said 'are you getting me through this?' and he was like 'I'll be honest with you, I can't promise you, you're 61 and we don't know what we’re dealing with, and I thought: 'I’ve had it.'" 

Detailing her horrific experience before she ended up in hospital, Linda told The Sun: "I started to get a fever, feeling rough and carried on, but it got worse and worse. Your head hurts, your brain hurts and you feel like an elephant is sitting on you. I remember crawling to the bathroom putting my face on the tile floor, and then almost trying to make myself sick just to get a light relief for five minutes afterwards. I was leaning over the edge of the bed coughing and spitting into a bucket. Your vomit is blue." Linda herself feared she would not make it. She said: “I was lying on the bed and had my arm over my head and thought, ‘I’m going, this is it.' I could feel myself drifting away." Linda is now recovering at home after spending ten days in hospital.

Keep scrolling for more stars detailing their coronavirus symptoms and experiences...

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Singer Pink recently detailed her experience with COVID-19 after she and her son Jameson, three, tested positive. "We have been really, really sick. My three-year-old, Jameson, has had the worst of it. I've had many nights where I've cried and I've never prayed more in my life. At one point I heard myself saying, 'I thought they promised us our kids would be OK.' And it's not guaranteed. There's no one that is safe from this. Jameson's been really, really sick. I've kept a journal of his symptoms for the past three weeks, and mine as well. He still, three weeks later, has a 100-degree temperature. It's been a roller coaster. It's been a different roller coaster for both of us."

In addition to persistent fever, her son has had "diarrhea and then constipation and then throwing up and pale and listless and lethargic and all the things that scare the bejeezus out of you as a mama". As for herself, the singer said she was "on nebulizers for the first time in 30 years". "It got really, really scary, I'm not gonna lie," she said, adding, "Just when you think you're better, something else happens."

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Idris Elba

In March, Idris Elba revealed he had tested positive for coronavirus after being exposed to someone who had it. At the time, he said he had no symptoms but experienced "a headache and body aches" on the day he tested. He wrote on Twitter: "Hoping everyone is coping with this! Currently still quarantine… Sab and I still feel ok so far with no changes. Dr told us that after quarantine we will be immune for a certain time since our antibodies fought this. At some point we’d like to go home to London. Bsafe." In a comment below the post, he added: "I really didn’t have poorly days… I had a headache and body aches on the day I tested but that’s been it."

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Olga Kurylenko

Former Bond actress Olga Kurylenko revealed she had tested positive for COVID-19 on 15 March. Admitting she had been "ill for almost a week", Olga said "fever and fatigue" were her main symptoms. After a few days, Olga updated her fans to reveal her fever had gone and she was still taking her daily vitamins to "help the immune system be stronger in order to fight!" Listing her supplements, which do not cure coronavirus, she revealed she takes Vitamin B5, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Zinc. On 22 March, the actress' symptoms had gone and she was "completely recovered".

She wrote on Instagram: "To recapitulate: For one week I felt pretty bad and was mostly in bed, sleeping, with high fever and strong headache. The second week, the fever was gone but some light cough appeared and I felt very tired. By the end of the second week I felt totally fine. Cough is almost gone although I still cough in the mornings but then it completely goes away for the day! I’m fine! And now I’m just enjoying this time to reflect on many things and spend my time with my son."

boris johnson carrie symonds© Photo: Getty Images

Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital ten days after testing positive for coronavirus on 27 March. At the time he said he had developed "mild symptoms" and was self-isolating, but following his hospital admission, he was later moved to the ICU after struggling with his symptoms. A Number 10 spokesman said at the time: "Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital… the PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication." 

The PM has since been released and is spending some time at his country home of Chequers before returning to Downing Street when he has fully recovered. His pregnant fiancée Carrie Symonds shared a series of emotional messages on Twitter, thanking the NHS for their continued hard work: "I cannot thank our magnificent NHS enough. The staff at St Thomas’ Hospital have been incredible. I will never, ever be able to repay you and I will never stop thanking you [rainbow emoji].

"There were times last week that were very dark indeed. My heart goes out to all those in similar situations, worried sick about their loved ones." Carrie concluded: "Thank you also to everyone who sent such kind messages of support. Today I’m feeling incredibly lucky."

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Prince Charles 

Clarence House confirmed that Prince Charles had tested positive for coronavirus on 25 March. In a statement, a spokesperson said at the time: "He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual. The Duchess of Cornwall has also been tested but does not have the virus. In accordance with Government and medical advice, the Prince and the Duchess are now self-isolating at home in Scotland. The tests were carried out by the NHS in Aberdeenshire where they met the criteria required for testing. It is not possible to ascertain from whom the Prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks.”

On 30 March, it was confirmed that Charles had come out of self-isolation at his Scottish residence, Birkhall, and on 8 April he and Camilla confirmed they had reunited by sharing a lovely new image ahead of their 15th wedding anniversary on 9 April.

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Archduke of Austria

Karl von Habsburg, the Archduke of Austria, was the first royal to be diagnosed with COVID-19. The 59-year-old, who is the head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, confirmed the news in a phone call on the Austrian TV channel oe24. "It's annoying, but I'm fine. It's not the black plague," he said. "I thought it was the usual flu. When a friend called me that he had a positive test at a congress in Switzerland, I was also tested." The Archduke went on to praise the Austrian authorities for acting "with measure and goal". He added, "Panic is not brought in."

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Prince Albert of Monaco

Prince Albert of Monaco, 62, was the second royal confirmed to have contracted coronavirus on 19 March. He later released a statement thanking supporters for their well wishes and later addressed rumours that he had infected Prince Charles, after they both attended the Water Aid summit on 10 March. Prince Albert said: "I was at a roundtable for his foundation, but we never shook hands. I was at the other end of the table, way far away. We nodded hello to one another, so I don't think I can really be accused of contaminating him."

He also described his symptoms as "pretty mild," telling PEOPLE magazine: "I’ve a slight fever, not really that bad. A little bit of a cough. I’d a runny nose the first few days that was the first sign. I’ve felt a little stuffed up but that’s it. I have to be careful because of my recent medical history fighting off pneumonia a couple of years ago."

Earlier this month, Prince Albert was declared free of COVID-19. The Palace of Monaco announced the news in a statement on 1 April, writing: "Doctors who have followed Prince Albert II since the start of his COVID-19 infection today allow him to end his quarantine period. The sovereign prince is declared cured and in good health."

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Matt Hancock

Just hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed he had COVID-19, Health Secretary Matt Hancock also revealed a positive diagnosis. Matt spent seven days in isolation and has now fully recovered, but admitted the illness caused him to lose weight. "It is rough, especially when you are on the downhill part of it - it's very worrying because we've all seen how serious it can get," he said, adding: "I had a couple of days when it was really very unpleasant and I've lost about half a stone."

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