CBS News' Seth Doane describes his recovery from coronavirus and 41-day quarantine

Seth Doane on his coronavirus recovery
Seth Doane on his coronavirus recovery 07:56

Last month, CBS News foreign correspondent Seth Doane tested positive for coronavirus. He was quarantined in Rome with his husband, Andrea. Now, he just received his second negative test result.

"Feeling better is a relief," Doane said Monday. "I've never wanted to fail a test, never been so happy for a 'negative' result, as I just got a couple of hours ago."

Joining "CBS This Morning" from his home in Rome, Doane described his symptoms:  "I had congestion, I had aches, I had fever for one night. I'd say maybe for eight days I didn't feel very well. I had different pains in places I wasn't really used to. I definitely knew I was sick. But I didn't have days where I just couldn't get out of bed. I was lucky to have relatively mild symptoms.

"And then to test negative, finally, twice, ahhh, such a relief!"

The Italians' requirement for a second negative test, Doane said, follows World Health Organization guidelines. "You need two negative tests separated by 24 hours to be officially freed from quarantine. So, as soon as I was exposed to people who were known to be positive, the doctors said, 'You have to be in quarantine.

"Then I had the test; it turned out positive. We stayed in quarantine. Today is day 41 – 41 days in the house. I've only been out for about three hours, and that was with a doctor's permission to go to some mobile clinics to have this test. And one of the tests, about 20 days after I first tested positive, was positive again. At that point I had no symptoms, I was feeling much better, and I was surprised, shocked and saddened really to test positive again."

Co-host Tony Dokoupil asked, "What have you been doing to stay sane?"

"Zoom!" Doane replied. "Zoom everything — Zoom exercise, Zoom Italian classes, Zoom conference calls for work, as you guys know. Zoom dinner parties and drinks. In fact, to change it up at one point, put on a black tie to have a black tie Zoom dinner party, because just the regular Zoom dinner party was getting old after so many weeks."

He also credited the support of family and friends: "My husband, Andrea, has been incredible through this. I brought this into his life, and he, too, had to be quarantined the whole time. We've been really lucky to have neighbors delivering groceries and helping us out, as we couldn't leave."

Andrea is also okay: "He actually tested negative all three times," Doane said. "There's some different hypotheses there. One is that he could have had it in-between and just not been tested at that right moment. [But] he's well."

Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries, has been on lockdown since March 9, and to date has suffered nearly 180,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 23,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

But the country's one-day coronavirus death toll continued to drop this weekend, with a reported 433 deaths on Sunday.

Asked to describe the current situation today and the prognosis for going forward, Doane said, "We live right in the middle of Rome, and with the windows open here for the last 40 days, it has sounded more like the countryside. You hear birds and insects. Though recently I have heard more helicopters. I was doing the laundry and hanging up the laundry and a drone buzzed right overhead.

"The Italians have been cracking down, trying to enforce these stay-at-home orders. The two times that we were allowed out of the house — three times actually to take a test, we're only out for a little bit of time, we went to this mobile clinic — but we saw all sorts of police blockades, roadblocks where they would stop. We had a doctor's permission we had to show that allowed us to be on the streets.

"Rome seems to be taking this very seriously. Now as you know, Italy is experimenting with this so-called 'Phase II,' starting to open up the country a little bit more to allow some more freedom. Now with my freedom, pretty much all I can do is go to the grocery store and take out the trash. But after 41 days, that's pretty nice!"

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.