'Bachelorette' Contestant Shares Post-Show COVID-19 Diagnosis: "We Are All Vulnerable"

Peter G Bachelorette - ABC - 2020
ABC

Contestant Peter Giannikopoulos with star Tayshia Adams

Peter Giannikopoulos, who was introduced as a mid-season contestant on the Nov. 10 episode, got into a serious car accident after receiving his results the day prior.

One day after making his debut on ABC's The Bachelorette, new contestant Peter Giannikopoulos is opening up about testing positive for COVID-19 and why the last 24 hours have been "some of the hardest" in his life.

Giannikopoulos was introduced on Tuesday night's episode of the reality dating competition, which was filmed over the summer. With star Tayshia Adams taking over as the mid-season star, four new men were brought into the Bachelorette bubble and joined the already 16-member cast, and Giannikopoulos was among the new additions.

Instead of celebrating his Bachelorette entrance, however, the real estate investor shared that he had tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 9 and was so distraught by his diagnosis that he had subsequently gotten into a serious car accident.

"The past 24 hours have truly been some of the hardest in my life," he explained on Instagram, where he shared a picture of his facial injury. "I am going through a lot of emotions at the moment with so many thoughts in my head as to how this happened."

While driving home from receiving his diagnosis, the contestant says his anxiety led to him to lose consciousness behind the wheel; he subsequently went off the road and smashed into a pole.

"The air bag deployed, driver side door was wedged in, broken glass everywhere, and I was 5ft away from smashing into a building," he wrote. "All I remember was waking up to people shouting for help, as I was in a deep daze and confusion. I didn’t know where I was, how I got there, or what happened. Luckily I came out of it with only a small gash on my nose. Truly a blessing as I am a firm believer I had angels watching over me."

Now under a two-week quarantine, Giannikopoulos shared his surprise about contracting the virus. "I felt lousy for a few days but didn’t believe I would contract the virus when I have been wearing a mask in public, washing and sanitizing hands regularly, and following social distancing protocol during work," he said. "This is an example no matter who we are or what we do, we are all vulnerable."

Giannikopoulos remains a contestant on The Bachelorette as of Wednesday; Tuesday's episode saw Adams decide to forgo a rose ceremony elimination due to the unprecedented nature of her taking over as lead.

This season of The Bachelorette, the 16th cycle in the female-led series, was taped in seclusion at a resort in Palm Springs, California, in order to observe new COVID-19 safety protocols. The cast and crew were quarantined and cleared with rounds of testing before entering the show bubble, which remained coronavirus-free throughout filming this summer.

"There was nothing about this season that wasn’t extraordinary and stressful and insane," host Chris Harrison had told The Hollywood Reporter about the top-down feat that went into pulling off a COVID-free season of the reality show. That success included secretly bringing in Adams to replace original star Clare Crawley, who exited the show last week after an early engagement to her frontrunner, Dale Moss. The franchise is now applying what they learned on The Bachelorette to the 2021 season of The Bachelor with historic star Matt James, which is currently in production at a resort in Pennsylvania.

Giannikopoulos is not the first star from the ABC franchise to reveal a COVID-19 diagnosis. Former Bachelor Colton Underwood revealed he had tested positive for the virus at the height of the pandemic outbreak in March.

Now, as Giannikopoulos' journey on The Bachelorette is set to embark, the recovering reality star offers this message to viewers: "Covid is something we all need to face head on and stay positive during these times. We can’t run away from it nor pretend it does not exist. It creates immense anxiety as a result of me losing consciousness behind the wheel. In moments like this, lean against each other for support and positivity. Although my symptoms are evident, I am going to fight this and win. I understand so many lives have been impacted and my heart goes out to every single person affected. It’s okay to be nervous, anxious, and feeling uncertain, but just remember we are all in it together." Read his full post here.