Smokey Robinson Details Harrowing COVID-19 Hospitalization

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William “Smokey” Robinson is sharing details of his near-fatal COVID-19 battle in hopes that it will encourage people to get vaccinated. 

The legendary 81-year-old Motown singer spent 11 days in the hospital with the coronavirus, several of which he told ET he could barely remember. While struggling with COVID-19, Robinson began to harbor fears that he would never sing again. Now he wants to share his harrowing experience because it may help save someone’s life.

“COVID just comes on and the people ask me today, who knew that I had it … where did you get it, how did you get it — I don’t know. I have no idea how I got it. All I know is I looked up and I had it,” he said.

“It was a horrible horrible thing and while I was going through it I wasn’t really thinking about ‘Hey man, perhaps you will never get out of this hospital alive,'” he added. “I wasn’t thinking like that. I was just thinking about [how] I got to get myself together.”

Robinson admitted he was frightened by the severity of his condition. Doctors said he was a lucky case, which was aided by the fact that he took care of his health. Things could have turned out very differently. Now Robinson is encouraging people to follow the guidelines implemented by the government, including vaccinations and mask mandates. 

“Protect yourself and those that you love because it is a real killer and it’s a horrible thing to have to go through,” he said. “Some people go through it mildly but you are talking to someone who went through it severely. So when you go through it like that it’s a really rough health thing to overcome… [if it wasn’t] for the grace of God, I wouldn’t be here talking to you guys and I’m sure of that.”

The warning comes as the World Health Organization prepares to hold a special meeting Friday over concerns about a new COVID-19 variant found in South Africa that is feared to be resistant to vaccines. 

“Our technical advisory group on virus evolution is discussing this with our colleagues in South Africa,” Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical lead for WHO, said during the Q&A session on Thursday, according to The Hill. “We’re also meeting again tomorrow — we’re calling a special meeting to discuss this, not to cause alarm, but just because we have this system in place,” she said. “We can bring these scientists together and discuss ‘What does it mean?’ and also kind of set the timeline for how long it will take for us to get those answers.”

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