Stephen A. Smith, ESPN’s marquee personality and a harsh critic of anti-vaccine athletes, said Monday he learned firsthand the value of the COVID-19 jabs after a harrowing bout with the virus over New Year’s. (Watch the video below.)
Doctors “told me had I not been vaccinated, I wouldn’t be here,” Smith said in his return to “First Take.”
Smith, who received two shots but was not boosted, revealed the details of his fight against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 850,000 in the United States.
“I had a 103-degree fever every night. Woke up with chills and a pool of sweat,” Smith said. “Headaches were massive. Coughing profusely. ... I was in the hospital New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day. That’s how I brought in the New Year.”
The illness damaged his respiratory system to the point he is still not fully recovered.
“I had pneumonia in both lungs,” Smith said, his voice still raspy. “My liver was bad. And it ravaged me to the point where even now I have to monitor my volume, gotta get in the gym every day, walk before you run and work your way back because I’m still not 100% with my lungs, but I’m COVID-negative. ... I’m on the road to recovery.”
“I can’t tell you how lucky and sincerely blessed I am to be sitting here today, because two and a half, three weeks ago, I didn’t know if I was gonna make it,” he said.
On Dec. 21, Smith announced on the air remotely that he had tested positive for COVID-19 but at the time he had mild symptoms. His condition would deteriorate in a matter of days.