Ellen DeGeneres slept '16 hours a day,' took 3 medications for intense back pain with COVID-19

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Ellen DeGeneres is opening up about her experience with COVID-19.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show resumed Wednesday — more than a month after the host’s diagnosis and the show abruptly went on an extended hiatus. She addressed the audience, which is once again virtual amid California’s coronavirus crisis, and had on medical expert Dr. Sanjay Gupta to discuss the latest with the coronavirus.

“Obviously there are a lot of negative things going on, so I want to talk about something positive — my COVID test,” quipped the 62-year-old star, who revealed her diagnosis on Dec. 10. “Positive!”

“I’m fine now,” she said. “Everything’s good. I’m all clear,” after dealing with excruciating back pain amid her illness.

She thanked “everyone who reached out with kind words of support. I wish I could have hugged each and every one of you. That would have been dangerous and illegal probably.”

The Ellen DeGeneres Show returned on Wednesday — more than a month after the host fell ill with COVID-19. (Photo: Warner Bros.)
The Ellen DeGeneres Show returned on Wednesday — more than a month after the host fell ill with COVID-19. (Photo: Warner Bros.)

DeGeneres said she was on set, in hair and makeup, last month when her assistant came in to inform her that she tested positive. She said, “everyone around me ran away.”

She continued, “I left the studio immediately and our COVID safety team informed everyone that I had been in contact with... I went home, obviously. I had to quarantine. Portia [de Rossi] made me sleep in a different room, in a different bed, because she wanted the race car bed all to herself.”

Jokes aside, she said she slept “16 hours a day” for the first three days. On day four, “I woke up with back spasms” and they persisted. While her doctor put her on pain medication and a muscle relaxers, they “did not help. My back got worse. It felt like I cracked a rib.” She was later put on a steroid pack as well, she said, adding that she has since learned that back pain can be a symptom of COVID-19.

DeGeneres said back pain was her only symptom, however, noting that she didn’t have a fever or headache and didn’t lose her sense of taste. “Although I did wear Crocs with socks” while she was sick, she quipped.

“I’m very, very fortunate. Very, very blessed. That was it for me,” she said, but added, “I still don’t know where I got it. I wear a mask. I wash my hands... I know a lot of people out there are struggling right now. My heart goes out to all of them.”

DeGeneres went on to talk to Gupta about COVID-19, especially in California where one in five people have been testing positive. There have been more than 2.8 million cases in the state with more than 31,000 deaths.

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