Rosie Perez is opening up about her "terrifying" experience with the novel coronavirus.
The actress, 56, revealed in an interview with Uproxx that she had contracted COVID-19 almost a year ago while traveling to Bangkok to film her upcoming HBO Max series, The Flight Attendant.
According to the star, the cast had "two and a half more episodes to do" when production shut down due to the outbreak.
"I had contracted COVID when we flew to Bangkok," Perez recalled in the article published Monday. "And at that time, they were saying 'It’s a new respiratory tract infection. It's a virus that's going around. We don’t really know what it is and what it does, but it attacks the respiratory system first and then travels to other parts of your body.' "
"It was terrifying," she continued. "I remember my manager was with me, and I said, 'Tarik, don’t let me die in Bangkok.' And he goes, 'Oh my God, you’re scaring me.' And the head of the ICU says, 'You should be scared, sir. This is serious. We’re going to have to put her in a separate room.' "
Perez went on to explain that not much was known about the virus at the time because "it was new. [This] was in December."
"I remember the doctor saying to me, 'The mask that you have on, the mask that I have on, every time you go outside, every time you meet someone wear that mask — not just for you, but to protect them too,' " she said. "And I haven’t forgotten it."
During the interview, Perez also spoke about her experience returning to set when production for The Flight Attendant — which also stars Kaley Cuoco, Zosia Mamet, T.R. Knight and Michiel Huisman — resumed this summer.
"I was very nervous, but when I got on set, everything was run so efficiently," she remembered. "It was bizarre. Standing in line for the COVID test, having hair and makeup with the goggles and the face masks, and then the face shields and the blue emergency room gowns."
Perez added that production "took every precaution possible" to ensure the safety of workers. "They were really professional about it, real champs, and put everyone at ease. But it was hard," she said.
Perez has been outspoken about the importance of taking safety precautions amid the ongoing pandemic. Earlier this year, the Oscar-nominated actress lent her voice to New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for a series of PSA about wearing masks while on the subway.
"I'm proud to be partnering with the governor to make sure that my hometown … my beloved borough Brooklyn and all of New York’s most impacted communities have the resources they need to stop the spread of the virus," she said during a press conference with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in May.
"In Brooklyn, there’s a saying, ‘Spread love the Brooklyn way,' "Perez shared. "Spreading love the Brooklyn way means respecting your neighbors, respecting your communities and the way you can do that is by getting tested, wearing a mask."
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