Speed Reads

'it ravaged me'

COVID-19 'almost took me out,' says ESPN's Stephen A. Smith

ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith says he was "ravaged" by COVID-19 and told he would have died had he not been vaccinated. 

Smith shared details of his COVID-19 battle with ESPN viewers on Monday, revealing he was hospitalized around New Year's Eve. 

"I had a 103-degree fever every night, woke up with chills in a pool of sweat," Smith said. "Headaches were massive, coughing profusely. … They told me had I not been vaccinated, I wouldn't be here. That's how bad I was. I had pneumonia in both lungs, my liver was bad, and it ravaged me."

Smith went on to say that COVID-19 "almost took me out," and although he has since tested negative, he's still "not 100 percent with my lungs" and is on the "road to recovery." The commentator thanked those doctors who helped him pull through, and said he wanted to "emphasize the importance" of continuing to wear a mask, noting, "You don't know how the next person is affected. How I'm affected is different than how you were affected." He also reflected that he's "lucky and sincerely blessed" to be back at ESPN "because two-and-a-half, three weeks ago, I didn't know if I was going to make it." 

Numerous TV hosts have shared positive COVID-19 test results in recent weeks, including Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, James Corden, and Savannah Guthrie. In most cases, the hosts have emphasized that they were thankful to be vaccinated and said they had mild, if any, symptoms.

Pop star Billie Eilish also shared in December that she battled COVID-19 earlier in 2021, reflecting, "I want it to be clear that it is because of the vaccine that I'm fine. I think if I weren't vaccinated, I would have died, because it was bad."