Jackson Browne has tested positive for coronavirus, he told Rolling Stone. Although the 71-year-old singer-songwriter would seem to be part of a vulnerable demographic, he reports that his symptoms have been mild and he has not required hospitalization or medication.
“I feel lucky that I’m not really badly affected. I guess I’ve got a really strong immune system,” Browne told the magazine. “You just don’t know who’s got a strong immune system and who doesn’t. I was told today by my doctor there’s a 19-year-old on a ventilator in Santa Monica. “
Browne says he felt ill with a cough and high temperature after returning to California after performing at Love Rocks NYC, an annual benefit for God’s Love We Deliver that was held at the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan March 12. As of the date of the interview, he had been self-quarantined for 10 days.
“I’m presuming I got this flying back and forth to New York to do [the] Love Rocks show at the Beacon,” he told the magazine’s Angie Martoccio. “And now it turns out that several people who were at that show have tested positive. I’m going to try and get in touch with everybody and keep talking with them. … Now, I wish I hadn’t gone to New York and done this benefit. I think to myself, ‘How much simpler would it have been had I just called in and said, “No, I’m not going to travel on a cross-country flight and spend two days in New York with all these people that are singing all over the country.’”
Browne referred specifically to a crew member and not any of the other performers (who included Dave Matthews, Cyndi Lauper, Chris and Rich Robinson, Leon Bridges, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Garlin and Paul Shaffer). As coronavirus cautions were beginning to rise rapidly at the time, the benefit ended up having no ticketed audience and being limited to “essential personnel” and family members only, with those who had bought tickets getting access to a live-stream.
“There was already a question of being careful and saying, ‘I’ll bump elbows and not shake hands and won’t hug anybody. I won’t behave like that at this show.’ But still, you’re in close quarters and you’re breathing the same air. 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.”
Now, he warns others, “You have to assume you have it. You need to assume that you in some way could very easily pass it to someone else. … 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. … There’s so much we don’t know. The one thing you can do is not go anywhere, not show up anywhere.”
Browne told the magazine that he felt it was important to talk about his case even though his symptoms have been less troubling than those of so many who have suffered or died. “It’s important for us all to be pretty forthcoming about what we’re going through,” the singer said. “Our experiences will be helpful for others to know. I don’t think my case is that important, but it might be helpful to know that some people don’t get this really bad.” He found hope in the idea that those who recover “can contribute to the overall herd immunity. You get over this as quickly as you can and be available to help others.”