Less than a week earlier, he was home in New Jersey when, on March 15, he started to feel sick. “The first symptoms were flu-like, with a low level fever around 100 with body aches and headaches,” Bryan tells Variety. Soon after, the body aches made it difficult to get out of bed. By Wednesday, March 18, it started to move to his lungs. It was then that the Tony Award-winning musician, who had been in New York City in the weeks prior working on launching the new musical “Diana,” knew he needed medical help.
He immediately called his doctor, Dr. Mike Rothberg of Brick, NJ, who had access to drive-by testing for the coronavirus, which involved a deep swab up his nose. Two days later, Bryan was informed that he was positive and was immediately prescribed antibiotics — Azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine (the “anti- malaria drug”) — which he started on Saturday. Two days later, Bryan reports that the medicine is working and he is “getting stronger” while remaining in self-isolation with his wife, Alexis. She, too, has tested positive but is not displaying any of the same symptoms except for a “slight headache for a couple of days.”
Says Bryan: “I’m thankful that she is not as sick as I am. We are both quarantined but it just shows that some people can have it with no symptoms, and some people can have it like me, and there’s others who are really sick and need to go to the hospital.”
Wanting to share his story and at the same time try to help by “squashing fear” was the reason the 58-year-old Bryan went public on Instagram, writing that the virus was “the flu, not the plague.” He also is encouraging everyone to practice social distancing to avoid spreading it to others.
For now, the protocol he is following includes another week of quarantine and, with improved symptoms, he will take the test two times to assure a negative result. In the meantime, Bryan has been in bed watching movies and getting a lot of sleep as his body fights the virus. He also says everyone should do their part to slow the spread and stay home.
“Everybody has just got to stay away from each other to kill this virus,” he says. “As much as it’s not any fun, it’s less fun to have it. If people do the right thing, we can all get over this. People have to take this seriously. You can get it. I got it.”
Meanwhile, Bon Jovi frontman Jon Bon Jovi has been helping feed those in need via his JBJ Soul Kitchen Community Restaurant in Red Bank, NJ, and engaging his own creative juices with a shared experience under the banner “If You Can’t Do What You Do… Do What You Can” inviting fans to help him write a song reflective of this moment in time.