Chris Cuomo, the CNN anchor and younger brother of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the network said on Tuesday.
Mr. Cuomo, 49, is “feeling well,” according to a memo distributed by CNN to staff members, and he plans to continue hosting his prime-time program from a studio in his home basement, where he is in quarantine.
A veteran news personality who joined CNN in 2013, Mr. Cuomo — the youngest child of Mario M. Cuomo, the former New York governor — is one of the most prominent members of the American media to learn he had the virus so far.
His program, “Cuomo Prime Time,” is a linchpin of CNN’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, and he has conducted several remote interviews with his brother on the governor’s efforts to combat the outbreak in New York.
“I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills, and shortness of breath,” Chris Cuomo said in a Twitter post on Tuesday, adding that he was hopeful he had not passed on the illness to his wife and children. He joked that “the rest of the family seem pleased” by his isolation in their basement, writing, “We will all beat this by being smart and tough and united!”
Governor Cuomo was in the midst of a nationally televised coronavirus briefing when news of his brother’s diagnosis became public. The governor said that he had learned of Chris Cuomo’s illness on Tuesday morning, and that his brother “is going to be fine.”
“He’s young, in good shape, strong — not as strong as he thinks — but he will be fine,” the governor said, wryly. (The Cuomos often engage in on-air brotherly teasing.)
But Governor Cuomo continued at length about the more serious implications of his brother’s diagnosis, including his relief that their 88-year-old mother, Matilda Cuomo, had not moved into Chris Cuomo’s home. The governor said that he had told his brother such a move would be “a mistake.”
“You bring her to your house, you expose her to a lot of things,” the governor said. “She would have been doing what she wanted to do, he would have been doing what he wanted to do; it would have seemed great and harmless. But now we have a much different situation. Because if he was exposed, chances are she may very well have been exposed, and then we would be looking at a different situation than just my brother sitting in his basement for two weeks.”
Andrew Cuomo is not known for public displays of sentiment. But his voice turned contemplative as he spoke about his sibling. “He’s combative and he’s argumentative and he’s pushing people, but that’s his job, that’s really not who he is,” the governor said. “He’s a sweet, beautiful guy, and he’s my best friend.”
“There’s a lesson in this,” the governor said. “He’s an essential worker, a member of the press, so he’s been out there. If you go out there, the chance that you get infected is very high.”
Chris Cuomo is the third CNN employee in New York to receive a positive diagnosis. The network said that he was last in the network’s Manhattan offices on Friday.
Jonah Engel Bromwich contributed reporting.