Gov. Andrew Cuomo Reacts to Brother Chris' Coronavirus Diagnosis: Virus 'Is the Great Equalizer'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called his brother Chris, a CNN anchor, a "really sweet, beautiful guy"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is opening up about the coronavirus hitting close to home for his family.

At his now-daily pandemic press conference on Tuesday, the politician, 62, spoke at a press conference about his younger brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who announced earlier on Tuesday that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory illness. Andrew said his brother will “be fine,” but used his story to stress the importance of social distancing during the pandemic.

“Everyone is subject to this virus. It is the great equalizer,” the governor told reporters. “I don’t care how smart, how rich, how powerful you think you are, I don’t care how young, how old. This virus is the great equalizer.”

Chris, 49, who hosts Cuomo Prime Time on CNN, is currently quarantined in his basement.

“He’s an essential worker, member of the press, so he’s been out there. You go out there, the chance that you’ll get infected is very high,” said Andrew. “I spoke to him this morning and … he’s just worried about his [wife] and his kids, that he didn’t get them infected.”

Andrew praised his sibling — with whom he’s gotten into playful split-screen verbal bouts during live televised interviews — calling Chris a “really sweet, beautiful guy.”

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“You don’t really know Chris, you see Chris,” said Andrew. “He has a show at 9:00 on CNN, but you just see one dimension. You see one person in his job, and in his job, he’s combative and he’s argumentative and he’s pushing people.”

He added: “But that’s his job, that’s not who he is. He’s a really sweet, beautiful guy. He’s my best friend.”

Andrew Cuomo, Chris Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo, Chris Cuomo. Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty; Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

Revealing news of his diagnosis, Chris wrote in a statement posted on Twitter that he experienced “fever, chills and shortness of breath.”

“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,” he wrote. “I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills and shortness of breath.”

He added: “I just hope I didn’t give it to the kids and [my wife] Cristina. That would make me feel worse than this illness!”

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With New York becoming the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, home to more than 40 percent of all confirmed cases in the country and about 40 percent of the deaths, Gov. Cuomo has become the face of the nation’s state leaders, holding daily press conferences on how to combat the spread.

As of March 31, there were more than 173,741 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and more than 3,400 deaths, including 75,795 cases in New York and 1,550 deaths, according to available data compiled by The New York Times.

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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