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Chris Cuomo reveals he chipped a tooth after experiencing coronavirus 'rigors'

The CNN anchor, who was diagnosed with COVID-19, also said he suffered a severe fever and had a hallucination of his late father during a grueling, sleepless night.
/ Source: TODAY

Chris Cuomo was shivering so hard with coronavirus symptoms that he chipped a tooth and hallucinated to the point that he saw his late father.

The CNN host spoke on his show from the basement of his home Wednesday night about what it was like experiencing effects of the life-threatening virus a day earlier.

Cuomo's guest, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, said Cuomo told him he had chipped a tooth from "rigors" related to the illness, which Cuomo confirmed.

"I was shivering so much, that Sanjay’s right, I chipped my tooth,” Cuomo said at the end of his show. "These are not cheap, OK? They call them the rigors, like rigors, r-i-g-o-r-s. But rigors."

Cuomo, 49, who is the younger brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said that he even had a hallucination of his late father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who died five years ago.

"So the sun comes up. I was up all night,'' he said. "I tell you, I was hallucinating. My dad was talking to me."

The CNN anchor, who revealed on Tuesday that he has coronavirus, also experienced a severe fever.

"This virus came at me, I’ve never seen anything like it, OK?" he said. "So I’ve had a fever, you’ve had a fever, right? But 102, 103, 103-plus, that wouldn’t quit. It was like somebody was beating me like a piñata."

Cuomo also told Gupta that people have been sending him pulse oximeters, which are hand-held devices that read your body's oxygen levels.

"I'll tell you what, this is a great gift to people who are fighting COVID," Cuomo said.

Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena, an emergency medicine physician at Northwell Health in New York City, told TODAY that the devices can be most helpful to high-risk people like those over 60 or people with underlying conditions.

"That's useful because in COVID-19, one of the things we're seeing is people with severe pneumonias who come to the hospital have low oxygen levels," Cioe-Pena said. "One of the ways you can monitor high-risk patients is by asking to get a pulse oximeter they can use at home."

If patients are feeling short of breath, a pulse oximeter can help them determine if it's serious enough to go to the hospital. A reading below 90 means people should contact their doctor.

However, Cioe-Pena also stressed that the devices should only be used by people with COVID-19 like Cuomo or those in high-risk groups.

"Average American families with no medical problems, I would not ask you to buy these," he said. "Like everything that’s being made right now for medicine, we don’t have enough of them ... We want these to be for high-risk patients, for people that are likely to develop COVID-19 pneumonias."

As he experiences the illness first-hand, Cuomo ended with a plea for others to follow the guidelines to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"So here's the message, don't be me, but more importantly, be better than we're being right now,” he said. "Care enough not just to stay home, but to stay on our leaders, to make sure that they're doing everything that they can to limit this."