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Chris Cuomo tests negative for coronavirus, says he'll donate blood

The CNN host is unsure if he should be happy that he is coronavirus-free because of questions about whether people can get COVID-19 more than once.
/ Source: TODAY

Chris Cuomo shared that he has tested negative for the coronavirus, but he isn't sure quite how to feel about it yet.

The CNN host spent weeks fighting the illness, which also spread to his wife, Cristina, and his son, Mario, 14, after Cuomo was isolated in the family's basement.

"Is this good news or not?" he said on his show Monday night. "I thought I was going to have this big, great news, of all the bad news I've given you about me and my family. I tested negative. I have both antibodies, the short-term one and the long-term one, so I'm lucky, right? Or not."

Cuomo's reluctance to celebrate came after the World Health Organization noted over the weekend in a since-deleted tweet that there is not enough evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 are protected from reinfection.

"Just because there's no evidence in this area doesn't mean that there's no immunity," Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of the WHO said in a media briefing on Monday. "It just means that the studies haven't been done yet."

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The announcement caused some angst for those wondering if a positive test for antibodies means that a person has developed immunity to the virus.

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta told Cuomo on Monday night that it will require more testing to see if the presence of antibodies in people like Cuomo who have had the illness means they are protected from getting it again.

"Presumably you're going to have some protection against this,'' Gupta said. "I think that's what most virologists will say, (and) that's what your friend, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says as well. The thing is we need to prove it out and that takes some time, to actually show that these antibodies are actually going to protect you."

Antibodies need to be combined with the virus in a test tube to see if they neutralize in order to determine if they are effective in protecting against COVID-19, according to Gupta.

"Presumably, there should be some neutralizing activity, but it may be different person to person," Gupta said. "There's been some evidence recently. For example, people who have had more significant illness may have antibodies with more neutralizing activity, and people who've had milder illness may have antibodies with less neutralizing activity. But again, we have to prove this out."

Cuomo is hoping his antibodies can help others after his ordeal with the illness, which included symptoms like a persistent high fever, losing 13 pounds in three days, chipping a tooth because he was shivering so hard, enduring "scary" chest X-rays and even having a hallucination of his late father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who died five years ago.

"If they want my blood, and I'm being told they do next week," Cuomo said. "I have never given blood in my life, and we both know why — it's because I'm a wuss. But I'm going to do it ... If they want the blood, I'm going to give it to them because that is the best thing I've heard of so far in terms of what I can do to help as someone who was sick."

Cuomo, 49, has also provided some comic relief during a difficult time with his back-and-forth banter with his older brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 62, whose state has been the global epicenter of coronavirus cases and deaths.

Expect some more brotherly ribbing when Andrew Cuomo appears on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Thursday to talk about Chris' fight with the coronavirus and the new fans they have gained.