The First Artist to Be Infected by the Coronavirus

Selena Gomez cancels ‘Tonight Show’ appearance after contracting COVID-19; shows no symptoms.

On Thursday, March 14, 2020, Elton John was filming a new season of his Netflix special “Rocketman” when a young, apparently healthy, woman showed up, and with a medical emergency on her mind: she had a respiratory infection, but she was still able to sing. She was the third guest on the show.

“What happened?” he asked Gomez. The star replied: “I got the coronavirus.”

They spent the night taking selfies. John was on hand for the first time as a musical guest. The show was taped in front of a live audience, all with the benefit of visual evidence that the singer was infectious—a new twist for a show that until recently had featured many live appearances, but had been careful not to share specific details of her case with the public. The first person to be infected by a person without a known exposure was Dr. Travis Knight, a Los Angeles physician who lives in a retirement home.

Gomez went on to be replaced on the show, after showing no symptoms, by her close friend and collaborator, The Weeknd.

A similar story unfolded on Sunday, March 18, when another performer, Taylor Swift, cancelled a late-night show before going on a long drive to Michigan to visit her youngest daughter, who had developed symptoms of the coronavirus after returning from Disney World. The same day, Swift, who is currently in the midst of the most intense fight of her career, tweeted out a video in which she explained her decision, and the video was quickly shared hundreds of thousands of times. When the world saw her tweet, she was the first artist to publicly announce that she was infected by the coronavirus.

In all, there have been more than 23,000 cases of transmission of the coronavirus that cause COVID-19 in the United States, with more than 1,000 deaths, according to public health officials. The first two fatalities were reported on January 30, 2020. By February 9, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had confirmed 20 cases of the disease in the country.

The numbers of confirmed cases have continued to rise exponentially: by February 21, the CDC had issued their latest official report, stating that there were 46,051 cases of the virus worldwide, and 1,

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