Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Browne has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he announced Tuesday.
He tells Rolling Stone that he thinks it's important people understand that COVID-19 isn't a death sentence, but it's also not something to be taken lightly.
"As soon as I had a small cough and a temperature, I tested [for the virus]," he said. "My symptoms are really pretty mild, so I don't require any kind of medication and certainly not hospitalization or anything like that."
Browne, 71, self-quarantined in his Los Angeles home about 10 days ago — as soon as he started feeling sick.
He's not sure where he contracted the coronavirus, but it could have been at the Love Rocks NYC benefit show for God's Love We Deliver. The concert was held at the city's Beacon Theatre on March 12 but was closed to ticketholders, as it took place hours before the city was shuttered in efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
The fundraiser was attended only by media, venue staff, crew and the performers, which included Dave Matthews, Cyndi Lauper, Warren Waynes, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Jimmie Vaughan, Joss Stone and many others.
Brown says several people who were at the show have since tested positive.
That's the insidious nature of COVID-19 — people can carry it without symptoms and transfer it unknowingly for weeks before they get sick. That's why Browne is talking about his illness.
"That's what younger readers need to understand: They need to take part in the global response to stop the spread," he said. "That means not going anywhere, not getting into contact with anybody, not seeing anybody."
He spoke with Rolling Stone during a break from calling people he's been in contact with over the past few weeks to get an idea who is sick and who isn't.
While the prognosis is generally good for people much younger than Browne, he says that fact shouldn't embolden people to flout stay-home orders. It's hard to know how your body will respond to the virus.
"I was told by my doctor there's a 19-year-old on a ventilator in Santa Monica," he explained. "There's no guarantee that because you're young, you're not going to be affected by this. The thing we should all be very aware of is by traveling around the city and moving this germ from place to place, inadvertently, you are risking the lives of everybody, including the most vulnerable, people who have asthma or people who are really old."
The legendary songwriter isn't sure why he's been apparently spared by the virus — especially considering his age — but he wishes he had been more careful and not gone to the benefit.
"...[Y]ou're in close quarters and you're breathing the same air," he said. "They are swabbing the mics, but somebody in the crew has it. For all I know, he got it from me. I could have got it from the crew member that has it or he could have got it from me. I don't know. I traveled on an airplane to get there."
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