Gloria Estefan Reveals She Was a 'Victim' of COVID, Believes She Got It From a Maskless Fan

"Fear is the biggest part of this whole thing," said Gloria Estefan of her COVID-19 diagnosis in an Instagram video

Gloria Estefan
Gloria Estefan. Photo: Gloria Estefan/ instagram

Gloria Estefan is speaking out about her experience with COVID-19.

In a video posted to Instagram on Tuesday, the Latina star, 63, revealed that she tested positive for the coronavirus last month, after an encounter with a fan at a restaurant in late October.

"In the past few weeks, I have been one of the victims of COVID," Estefan said. "The reason I'm sharing this is that I want you to know how highly contagious this is — I wear my mask everywhere. I went to a restaurant outdoors with some family — three, four of us — and everybody was negative. We wore masks all the way to the table."

"When we left, the only thing that I can imagine happened is that someone came up to me when I was eating and tapped me on the shoulder," she continued. "They were very close, they had no mask and they were telling me beautiful things. But that's the only thing that I have done outside of my enclosure here."

Estefan realized she had no sense of taste or smell — a common symptom of the coronavirus — a few weeks later.

"My poor chef was the victim of me telling her that the chicken that she made me tasted like nothing," she said. "I still didn't realize it 'till the next day when my breakfast tasted like nothing and then I couldn't smell [my soap]. Then I started freaking out a little bit like we all have been because the fear is the biggest part of this whole thing."

She later added: "I was very lucky. But I just wanted to share with you the fact that I was in quarantine and the one day I went out and met with one person that was not wearing a mask — I even held my breath, quite honestly, through their talk — something must have happened."

Estefan said she tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 8.

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"I locked myself away on the second floor of my house, didn't let anybody up for two weeks, I can tell you that," she said. "Fortunately, I'm very lucky that the only symptoms that I had were the loss of smell and taste and a little bit of a cough. I can't say that I felt bad ... my immune system is always firing on all pistons."

Estefan went on to describe what she takes on a daily basis to boost her immune system. She said she takes vitamins D3, C and B12, along with zinc and even melatonin.

"My good friend, the infectious disease doctor Dr. Aileen Marty, told me that melatonin is very good for the immune system ... so I was taking 10 milligrams of melatonin at night," she said. "I don't like to say brands but Listerine Cool Mint apparently kills this thing. So use that a lot to protect yourself." (Studies about Listerine being an effective tool to kill COVID-19 have been inconclusive.)

Estefan also said she drank a lot of Gatorade Zero because she got "a little bit dehydrated" while recovering. After testing negative "twice last week," she said she has "so much to be thankful for."

"The reason that I didn't share what I was going through is I didn't want you guys worrying about me needlessly, or to mess up your Thanksgiving or to take attention away from Nurse Heroes, the amazing show that [my husband] Emilio put together for all the incredible nurses that have been putting their lives on the line for all of us," she continued.

gloria estefan
Gloria Estefan.

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Estefan concluded her video by encouraging everyone to "wear your masks, stay six feet away and protect yourselves." Estefan did not say whether any of her other family members tested positive for the virus.

"Fear was my biggest problem because we don't know what's going to happen and sometimes you really get very afraid if you're going to be one of those cases," she said. "But you know, you've got to grab fear and shake it and do whatever you can to keep your immune system as healthy as you can."

"But anyway, I just wanted you to know just in case I can be helpful in whatever way," she added. "I love you all. Stay healthy, stay safe and looking forward to a better year next year for sure."

In the caption of the video, Estefan apologized to her Spanish-speaking fans for not recording the video in Spanish and listed out all of the vitamins and supplements that she takes for her Immune system.

"Thank you all for the caring & supportive messages!" she wrote. "Please stay healthy & safe, wear your masks and stay 6 feet apart!"

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 the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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