Gloria Estefan got COVID-19.
That seems almost inconceivable given how careful the Miami singing superstar has been since the novel coronavirus first surged in March.
She had isolated at her homes in Vero Beach and Miami Beach while prepping the release of a new album in the summer. She’s a staunch advocate for practicing healthy lifestyle habits like exercise, nutrition, hydration and taking vitamins.
In April, she rewrote the lyrics to her 1989 hit, “Get on Your Feet,” to turn it into a public service video message to urge everyone to “Put on Your Mask.”
But on Tuesday night she posted on her Instagram page a five-minute video taken inside her Miami recording studio. She told fans that she tested positive for COVID-19 in early November.
How Estefan got infected
“I went to a restaurant, outdoors, with some family, three, four of us,” she said in the clip. The date was Oct. 30. Cases were on an uptick in Florida, by that point, with more than 5,000 new cases a day on many days.
But Estefan said she was careful.
“Everybody was negative. We wore masks all the way to the table. And when we left, the only thing I can imagine that happened, is that someone came up to me when I was eating and tapped me on the shoulder. They were very close, they had no mask and they were telling me beautiful things. But that’s the only thing that I have done outside of my enclosure here.”
Estefan says “I held my breath even” during the maskless fan encounter.
By Nov. 5, Estefan, 63, couldn’t taste her food. She jokes in the video that her “poor chef” had to endure the criticism that the chicken she had made for her that night for dinner “tasted like nothing.” Then, Estefan couldn’t taste her breakfast or smell her soap. That’s when she really started to “freak out a little bit, as we all have been.”
Estefan got tested and it came back positive on Nov. 8. She immediately isolated herself from family on the second floor of her home for two weeks, she said. Her doctor, she said, believes she received a low viral dose because her symptoms were minor. Aside from the lack of smell and taste, she had a cough and it wasn’t severe.
How is Estefan and the family now?
Estefan has since tested negative twice.
“The family, household staff and working staff all were tested after she tested positive” said spokesman Frank Amadeo, president of Estefan Enterprises, in an email response to the Miami Herald.
“Yes, it’s a scary world out there .... no matter how much you protect yourself,” he said. “She quarantined at home and, as she said, thankfully she and the family are all doing well.”
Estefan’s COVID-19 message
In the video, Estefan enumerates all of the things she had long employed to keep her immune system “firing on all pistons” and believes this may have saved her from the worst of COVID. She mentions taking vitamins D (which you can also get from the sun) and C, zinc, melatonin.
Though she says she doesn’t like to mention brand names, she mentions Gatorade Zero with no sugar for hydration and Listerine Cool Mint.
She refrained from going public because she said she didn’t want to alarm fans or ruin anyone’s Thanksgiving and that there are people out there who are “really suffering.”
Estefan says she also did not want to take attention away from the “nurse heroes” that have been putting their own lives on the line to take care of the public during this pandemic.
But with cases surging again in Miami-Dade and with Florida joining California and Texas in the million cases milestone, Estefan felt it important to share the message that taking care of your health and its immune system as routine practice is vital. And to wear your mask. Always.