Back in early May, Willie Nelson took to social media to announce that he and his family band would cancel and postpone dates. The announcement stated that someone in the band tested positive for COVID. However, it didn’t specify who had the virus. Recently, though, Willie revealed that he had the virus.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Willie Nelson revealed that he contracted COVID-19 shortly after his 89th birthday. At the time, Nelson was on the road. He was making a stop in Nashville and sleeping on his tour bus. One night, Willie woke up in the middle of the night struggling to breathe. This lead him to take a rapid PCR test for COVID-19 which came back positive.
Luckily, Willie Nelson was prepared. His wife, Annie said that they had medical equipment and medication on hand. “I had a nebulizer on the bus. I started everything I could at that point, including Paxlovid. He had monoclonal antibodies, he had steroids,” she told the publication. Nelson has emphysema and is getting up there in years. So, it was important for them to be prepared for the worst. After starting what treatment they could, the couple headed back to Texas.
After getting back to their Texas ranch, they called in a mobile medical unit. However, even after they “turned the house into a hospital,” there were still moments when Annie thought she would lose Willie to the virus. It took six days for the Outlaw Country icon to start feeling better.
About having the virus, Willie Nelson said, “I had a pretty rough time with it. COVID ain’t nothing to laugh at, that’s for sure.”
How Willie Nelson Stays COVID Safe on the Road
Two weeks after he started feeling better, Willie Nelson was on the road again. However, these days, Willie is pretty careful while he’s out playing shows. For one, Nelson still avoids playing most indoor shows. Additionally, everyone in the band and crew takes a daily COVID test. Backstage, everyone is required to wear a mask. Onstage, everyone gives Willie at least six feet of room as an extra precaution. Annie Wilson said that she’s not afraid to ruffle some feathers to keep the Red-Headed Stranger safe. “If I have to be the bad guy to keep him safe, I’ll be the bad guy. A virus doesn’t care who you are, what you believe, how famous you are.”
On top of all of that, Willie Nelson has decided to book fewer dates. This gives him time to rest and recuperate between gigs. Additionally, Willie told The New York Times that he’s stopped smoking cannabis. “It wasn’t good for my lungs,” he explains. These days, Nelson opts for edibles over the massive joints he favored in the past.