U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke to Robin Roberts on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, March 24, with an update about her husband, who remains hospitalized with COVID-19.
“Today, he’s still on oxygen,” said Minnesota’s senior senator, who recently withdrew from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. “The reason he was hospitalized is he had pneumonia, he was coughing up blood and his oxygen levels were dangerously low. So he’s been there for a few days now.”
Her husband, John Bessler, is an attorney and a professor at the University of Baltimore Law School. He waited about five days on the COVID-19 test results, Klobuchar says.
“He got a test last Wednesday,” Klobuchar said on Tuesday morning. “We didn’t get the results till yesterday (Monday) and so that’s when we found out. Which we suspected over the weekend that he had it — and that’s the story of a lot of people.”
It’s a challenging time for everyone, Klobuchar said.
“A lot of Americans have this and worse going on,” she said. “One of the hardest things about this disease is you can’t go and visit your loved one … as much as I love being on your show, I would rather be there with him right now. And I can’t do that. All you can do is call and email and text and try to reach the caretakers who are taking care of him — I’ve never even met them — to get updates.
“And it’s all Americans, as I said … this isn’t just my story,” she says. “Everyone’s going to know someone in their family where this happens, or their friends, and I just want to say that’s who I’m thinking about right now, and it’s the reason I’m here in my office devoted to getting the funding we need for a medical surge, and helping people who are out of work.”
Klobuchar said her husband has no underlying conditions.
“He’s 52 and very healthy,” she said. “We don’t know how he got it … no one around us got it, maybe it was just a random thing. He started to feel sick about 12 days ago or so and the minute he started to feel like he had a cold, he sequestered himself, quarantined himself in the apartment — that’s all he thought it was (a cold), but to be safe, he did that, and then that’s where he stayed until he started coughing up the blood, and then he got the test.”
Klobuchar explained why she didn’t get tested.
“Because the first week, I was in Minnesota and he was here in Washington,” Klobuchar said. “And then by the time I came back for votes, he was starting to feel sick, so we stayed in separate places. So by the time we got the test back, the 14 days had gone by.
“And so I talked to my doctor and (they) said, ‘You wouldn’t qualify, no matter what — you don’t have symptoms, you haven’t been around him for 14 days,'” Klobuchar said. “So why would I get a test when other people who are sick aren’t getting a test. And so that’s how I approached it. I thought: ‘I’m going to be treated like everyone else.’ And I think that’s what a lot of people are going to have to do now.
“Of course, everyone would love to get a test, you’d love to know, but you’ve got to make sure that you’re following the rules and I think his story is one of following the rules,” she says. “And so as far as we know, he didn’t infect anybody else.”
She also gave an update on negotiations over a virus aid package.
“The entire team, we have stuck together to try to push for more funding for a medical surge for equipment in hospitals as well as making sure that our workers are taken care of, small businesses and the like,”
She described “very good bipartisan negotiations” between fellow Democrats and Republicans.
“I think I talked to six Republican senators over the phone yesterday,” she said.
People behind the scenes are helping keeping things running, too, she said: “There have people working, staff here, knowing that, as you know, with Rand Paul and others, that there is coronavirus in the Capitol, and these people, the staff members, the police officers, everyone working here. …”
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