She’s known for her hard-hitting interviews and taking risks in the business world, but there’s one thing Oprah won’t take a chance with: her health.
The American talk show host recently revealed that she didn’t leave her house for 322 days during the height of Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
While discussing her new documentary, The Color of Care, Oprah said her history with pneumonia had heightened her fears about contracting the coronavirus. She was lucky she could quarantine in her $40million (R630m) mansion in Santa Barbara, California, with her partner, Stedman Graham.
“You can do that when you don't have to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from. I didn’t have to worry about, ‘Am I going to have rent? Am I going to be able to get food? Am I going to be able to keep the lights on and am I going to be able to take care of my children?’” she says.
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The media mogul also says she found it easy to be isolated from the world.
“I think it’s because every day, I was in an audience of 350 people twice a day, so I’ve had shaking hands and autographs and selfies, and lots of attention, and exposure to being around a lot of people," she says. "I was able to be with myself in a way that I haven’t been able to for years, because usually, even if I take time off for myself, I’m thinking about what's the next thing to come?"
She says she felt like superwoman after she received her Covid-19 vaccine, yet she's still very cautious about her health.
“I personally think it's too soon to be removing masks from planes. But that’s what people choose to do. If I were on a commercial plane, I'd be one of the people who'd still be wearing my mask,” Oprah says.
“And I'd be one of the people still wearing my masks in an enclosed building with people whom I didn't know if they were or weren't vaccinated. But that's just me. And I certainly accept that there are other people who disagree. I'm OK with that as long as I can wear mine.”
Now that she's out of her self-imposed bubble, she’s back at work and has produced a documentary focused on how Covid-19 has exposed racial inequities in America's health system.
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The Color of Care features Americans of colour who lost loved ones to Covid-19 and the harrowing experiences they faced trying to access care for them before they died.
Having been a celebrity since the age of 19, Oprah says she hasn’t had to deal with the same struggles that other people have endured. She hopes the documentary will give a voice to the voiceless.
“I've lived this life of privilege and advantage, and then been exposed to the best of healthcare . . . being exposed to what that kind of celebrity does when it comes to having access to what you need, I have a particularly strong empathy for people who can’t get it and don’t have it,” she says.
She’s also launched a campaign to reach future medical professionals, as well as affected communities and policymakers at all government levels to start thinking about solutions toward health equity.
Sources: latimes.com, dailymail.com, people.com