Stephen Amell reveals the 'mental fear' he faced after testing positive for COVID-19

Actor Stephen Amell has recovered from COVID-19. (Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images)
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Stephen Amell is best known for playing superhero Arrow on TV for eight seasons, but he found himself feeling helpless when he contracted COVID-19 this month.

He struggled with the one-two punch of feeling terrible physically but also mentally when he tested positive and had to stop filming his new show, the wrestling drama Heels.

“I felt a great deal of pressure to not get it,” Amell said on Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast. “And this is something that I got into once I got a positive test ... a lot of the mental fear.”

Amell explained that he’d always been “really good about” wearing a mask and social distancing.

The actor said the pressure came from knowing he’d have to stop working, leaving the many people who work on the set of his show in a bind, if he tested positive. Amell is the star, and if he isn’t there, it’s holding everyone else up.

“I’ve never worried about the lethal aspect of it because the numbers suggest that I will get it, and maybe I'll be asymptomatic or maybe my symptoms will be light, and I will come out the other side and I will be OK, which is what happened,” Amell said. “My anxiety came from the idea that I would be letting hundreds of people down. Right... I didn't have anxiety about the fact that I would give it to other people, which again I possibly did, which is unsettling in and of itself. But, you have to understand that because of this anxiety, I have actively, actively, actively tried to avoid contracting this virus. And guess what? I f****** got it anyway. So be smart.”

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I love wearing a mask.

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Amell has spoken out about his anxiety before. In January, he experienced a panic attack on Rosenbaum’s show and had to cut his interview short, but not before he told the host he’d been struggling with the end of his show after eight seasons. Amell returned to the show later in a much calmer place.

With the COVID-19 issue, Amell had hoped he was in the clear before testing positive. He had tested negative upwards of 40 times. When that happened, he had to quarantine for three weeks.

“If this wasn't called COVID-19, I wouldn't have missed a day of work,” the self-described “retired superhero” said. “I would have felt shitty on a couple of the days, but I ... would not have missed a day of work.... I have gone to work feeling worse than, than I did ... but then ... all you're dealing with is ... a flu where you're feeling really run down or you're, you're injured from a stunt or something.”

Still, don’t think it was nothing for the 39-year old, because he said his first couple of days with it “just sucked.”

Amell is only the latest of a long list of celebrities who’ve either tested positive or had a loved one test positive during the global pandemic.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.

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