Tarana Burke reveals fiancé tested positive for coronavirus

Burke revealed Thursday that her partner works with New York's homeless population and was likely exposed while doing his job as he is deemed an essential worker but is now recovering

Tarana Burke
Tarana Burke attends Variety's Power Of Women: New York at Cipriani Wall Street on April 13, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Tarana Burke’s fiancé, who she has yet to name, tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Burke revealed Thursday that her partner works with New York’s homeless population and was likely exposed while doing his job as he is deemed an essential worker. She said she was initially hesitant to reveal his status, but decided to do so to provide first-hand information about the virus and the toll it takes on loved ones.

Burke and her husband-to-be were tested. Burke was negative. She described the last two weeks as one of the “scariest” in her life. She said the couple wasn’t aware that they were likely dealing with COVID-19 for a few days until her man’s fever spiked to 101.5 along with the added symptom of what she describes as “sensitive skin” when he felt as though his skin was burning.

Tarana Burke thegrio.com

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 24: Tarana Burke attends the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

READ MORE: Maryland grocery clerk with cerebral palsy dies of coronavirus

The couple went to New York City’s Mt. Sinai Hospital as the fever continued to build. Burke said she was also not feeling well and was also tested. Although she tested negative, (describing the nasal swab test as “brutal” but quick) he was feverish, his blood sugar was elevated and he was dehydrated. The couple both received chest X-rays as the virus is known to impact the lungs.

Burke and her man were ultimately released from the hospital with instructions to have him return if he “even skipped” a breath. From there, it was a harrowing few days when his fever spiked nightly as a worried and exhausted Burke literally watched him sleep in fear that his breathing would become impaired.

Fortunately for the couple, a combination of over-the-counter medications finally helped bring down the fever. Burke shared that she hoped her story might help others, but also that she hoped no one has to get it.

READ MORE: Aretha Franklin’s former lover dies of COVID-19

While she recognized the novel coronavirus impacts everyone differently, she wanted people to know that in her experience, “It’s not a “bad flu” or “cold.”

While exact records are still difficult to come by, the coronavirus does seem to be impacting African-Americans disproportionately, especially in cities like New York, Milwaukee, and Chicago.


The #MeToo founder and activist announced her engagement on her Instagram page on Valentine’s Day this year. Bronx, N.Y. native Burke titled it “A Bronx Tale.” She shared that at first she wanted to keep the engagement private as her life had become so public, but decided sharing positive imagery of Black love might resonate with others.

You can read Burke’s Twitter thread about their current challenge below.