CBS News Employee With Coronavirus Shares Story From Rome Quarantine

Jeffrey Neira/CBS
CBS News' Seth Doane

Seth Doane, one of six CBS News employees who tested positive for the disease, talked about his experience on Monday's edition of 'CBS This Morning.'

Seth Doane is one of six CBS News employees who have been diagnosed with coronavirus. On Monday, the foreign correspondent joined CBS This Morning from his home in Rome, where he is currently quarantined as he recovers from the virus.

"I coughed a little bit, enough to worry the people I was with here. We were out here working, covering this story. I started to have a little bit of a cough that worried me," he said of the initial symptom that prompted him to seek a coronavirus test.

Asked how he's feeling at the moment, Doane responded, "For the most part, I feel OK. As we know, this is a deadly virus. It can be incredibly serious, a major respiratory illness. So far, I've been lucky. I've had kind of a chest pressure, almost like you've done a big chest workout. I've had a little bit of a cough, a relatively mild fever. I've had weird aches and pains in places I'm not used to, but honestly, I feel like I've had colds and flus worse than this. I've never been totally out for the whole day in bed. I've been up, able to talk with people. So, for me, luckily, fortunately for me, it's been quite mild."

Doane then went on to explain what it's like living in quarantine in Italy, which is under a nationwide lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"As soon as I learned I had been exposed to people who had tested positive, we have been in lockdown here inside the house. Italy has been locked down. People have been told they have to remain at home. But since I had had exposure to positive cases, I was not allowed to leave the house," he said. "I haven't left the house to take out the trash. In fact, our neighbors brought some groceries to us and left them on the front doorstep. From the moment I learned I was exposed to positive cases, we have taken this quarantine seriously because you have to stop the spread."

Doane also described the "uncomfortable" testing process. "They stick the swab up both sides of your nostrils and then both sides of the back of your throat. Italian health authorities came to our apartment here in Italy. If you are feeling symptoms, you call a number. We also called our local doctor here in Rome."

However, Doane noted that "they didn't want to give me the test because they said, 'You have very mild symptoms.'"

Now Doane's recovery simply involves waiting at home in isolation, as there is no treatment for the coronavirus. "There's no treatment. Waiting at home is all you can do is stop the spread. I'm trying to be careful with my husband, who tested negative so far," he said. "So, we're trying to keep a distance. We're trying to stay sterilized as much as I can in the house. But the idea is that it stops at my doorstep."

Doane said that while this "is not what I want to be discussing on TV" and "it is not what I want to be known for," he felt obligated to share his story.

"I'm trying to be public and open because I think it's vital that we stop the spread of this thing. It is vital that people inform people they've had contact with. I took it very personally. The psychological part has been worse for me than the physical part," he said. "And I've tried to call, email or contact everyone I had contact with."

Added Doane, "I was feeling great. I felt totally fine. Luckily, our amazing doctor has been in touch with me every day, checking in. He hopes I wasn't spreading it at that point when I was feeling terrific. But really, it's too early. We don’t know. But I've taken it very seriously to call everybody I've had contact with, as difficult as it's been, to say, 'You've got to take this seriously. You have to quarantine.'"

Italy has been described as the pandemic's epicenter in Europe, with more than 24,700 confirmed cases and over 1,800 deaths. The worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus has sickened nearly 170,000 people and left more than 6,500 dead, with thousands of new cases confirmed each day. The death toll in the United States climbed to 64, while infections passed 3,700.

Watch Doane's appearance on CBS This Morning below.