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Don Lemon Bursts Into Tears While Discussing Friend & Co-Worker Chris Cuomo's Coronavirus Diagnosis

People logo People 4/1/2020 Ashley Boucher
Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo are posing for a picture: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images; Theo Wargo/Getty Images Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo © Provided by People ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images; Theo Wargo/Getty Images Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo

CNN anchor Don Lemon got emotional Tuesday night while talking with his friend and fellow news anchor Chris Cuomo, who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

After discussing what people can do if they cannot pay their mortgages or rents with colleague Bianna Golodryga on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, the host started to tear up.

“I said I wasn’t going to do this,” Lemon, 54, said wiping away tears with a tissue.

“He’s probably at home laughing at me,” the host joked before explaining how close he is with his colleague.

“Chris and I are really good friends, we live near each other,” adding, “anyway, he’s not here, and we have this great relationship.”

Don Lemon wearing a suit and tie: CNN/Youtube Don Lemon © Provided by People CNN/Youtube Don Lemon

“He’s going to be fine, we have been talking all day and we are texting and he’s like, ‘People are treating me like I’m dying, I’m not dying,'” Lemon said.

Earlier in the broadcast after Lemon’s interview with Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, Durkan offered him some well wishes in the wake of Cuomo’s diagnosis prompting Lemon to also become emotional.

“Give Chris our best, we’re all rooting for him, and thank you, Don,” Durkan said.

“Thank you,” Lemon replied, overcome with emotion. “I said I wasn’t going to do this. Thank you very much. Thank you.”

a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: CNN/Youtube Don Lemon © Provided by People CNN/Youtube Don Lemon

“That’s my guy,” Lemon said. “You know that. And so it’s been really tough. I’ve been distracted all night because I’ve been thinking about it. I was really worried about him.”

“How could you not?” Durkan said. “Hang in there, man.”

Lemon then cut to a commercial, saying, “I can’t read that. We’ll be right back.”

Lemon and Cuomo had a moment of levity earlier in the night’s broadcast as they discussed Cuomo’s new work from home situation.

“Where’s your suit?” Lemon asked Cuomo, 49, who is continuing to work but from his basement, where he is staying quarantined away from his family.

“I’m too sick,” Cuomo explained. “Christina said it didn’t look right for me to be sick in a funereal suit. It’s too much like what I might be buried in.”

“Yeah? Did she come down there and do some decorating and help you dress?” Lemon asked with a burst of laughter.

“Nope. Nobody will come anywhere — those stairs are a no-go zone,” Cuomo answered. “Even the dogs don’t come.”

“Listen, everybody, don’t get it twisted,” Lemon said, composing himself. “We know this is very serious. This is how Chris and I interact, we tease each other. So when I got the call earlier this morning, it said Christopher Cuomo, I was like, oh boy, here we go. But I was actually on a business call so I told you I’d call you back, I called you right back and I knew what you were going to tell me.”

“You’re a strong guy, so I know that you’ll be fine,” Lemon added.

Chris Cuomo wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic Chris Cuomo © Provided by People Taylor Hill/FilmMagic Chris Cuomo

“I’ll tell you what I feel badly about and this is why I want you to avoid this. It’s not being sick. I’ll deal with it. Whatever it is, it is. So many people have it so much worse. I don’t believe that that’s the way I’m gonna go,” Cuomo said. “But not being able to be there for the people you love, for guys like me and you, that is a killer.”

“To have those kids upstairs and I don’t know if any of them are sick yet because of me,” he continued. “My wife, the center of everything. And I’m down here. That sucks. And I don’t want other people to be in this position. So learn from me. You can get it. Avoid it.”

Lemon concluded the segment by asking Cuomo had received his gift — a six-pack of Corona beer.

“You’re not funny, by the way,” Cuomo told him.

“I’m trying to make you feel better, I actually do feel bad for you,” Lemon replied.

“Sooooo in these difficult times that seem to get more difficult and complicated by the day, I just found out that I am positive for coronavirus,” Cuomo announced Tuesday on Twitter. “I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills and shortness of breath.”

“I just hope I didn’t give it to the kids and Cristina,” the journalist added of his children and wife. “That would make me feel worse than this illness!”

Cuomo concluded his tweet by saying he would continue to do his shows from his basement, adding, “we will all beat this by being smart and tough and united!”

Slideshow: Celebs who have been diagnosed with COVID-19

As of Tuesday evening, there at least 187,176 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 4,047 deaths. The epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. is in New York, which has at least 75,813 confirmed cases of the contagious respiratory virus and 1,550 deaths.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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