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COVID-19 felt like leukemia, Dr. Drew says

Dr. Drew — a media personality and addiction medicine specialist — once criticized COVID-19. He has now changed his tune

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Dr. Drew Pinsky, left, and Susan Pinsky attend the 2019 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards at the iHeartRadio Theater on Friday, Jan.18, 2019, in Burbank, Calif.

Dr. Drew Pinsky, left, and Susan Pinsky attend the 2019 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards at the iHeartRadio Theater on Friday, Jan.18, 2019, in Burbank, Calif. Dr. Drew recently said his COVID-19 symptoms felt like those of leukemia.

Richard Shotwell/Invision/Associated Press

Dr. Drew Pinsky — a media personality and addiction medicine specialist — recently explained what his COVID-19 symptoms felt like, comparing it to leukemia.

What’s happening?

Pinsky recently spoke with Dr. Mehmet Oz on “The Dr. Oz Show” about his experience with COVID-19, describing his myriad symptoms, according to Yahoo! Entertainment.

  • “I had three days of fever and prostration. I was out of it. I had terrible back pain, really that was a striking feature, and three days of fever. I was negative the entire time,” he said, according to Yahoo! Entertainment.“And so my doctor brain jumped into the worst possible thing it could be, and I thought, ‘Oh, it’s acute lymphocytic leukemia. I’m ready for a bone marrow in the morning. It’s gonna be OK.’ I was preparing myself for the worst possible thing.”

But, according to Pinsky, it turned out to be COVID-19. And it was something he couldn’t wrap his brain around.

  • “It felt uncanny to me. That was the word I kept using, it’s uncanny, I can’t quite describe it,” Pinsky said, according to Yahoo! Entertainment. “It was fatigue, like, I couldn’t have this conversation. I would have to lie down after, like, immediately. I was foggy. I had word-finding difficulty. I had a very strange relationship with sequences. If my wife came in the room and said, ‘Move this pillow. Sit down and take your socks off.’ I literally said to her several times, ‘I know you’re talking. I have no idea what you just said.’ As I got better, I kept telling people, ‘This must be what a traumatic brain injury feels like.’”

Flashback

Per CNN, Dr. Drew once called the pandemic “press-induced.” He later apologized for saying that the pandemic started because of the press and for his comparisons of COVID-19 to the flu, according to Deadline.

“My early comments about equating coronavirus and influenza were wrong. They were incorrect. I was part of a chorus that was saying that, and we were wrong. And I want to apologize for that,” he said, per Deadline.