MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sen. Amy Klobuchar is dealing with the COVID-19 crisis in two different ways. First, she helped push through a federal stimulus bill that will give Minnesotans more unemployment benefits.
Second, she’s sharing her concerns as her husband John Bessler himself recovers from the virus. WCCO’s Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield spoke with Klobuchar on Friday. Klobuchar was in good spirits after a bad week.
At first, Klobuchar said, Bessler didn’t believe his symptoms were indicative of the coronavirus.
“At the beginning I kind of believed him, like, ‘Ahh no problem, it’s a cold.’ I’m sure that’s what he thought. You know how guys can be, and that’s how he was,” she said. “I would call him every hour, make him take his temperature. He had a very high temperature and it kept going.”
Klobuchar said that he stayed inside the apartment and the symptoms kept getting worse and worse.
“Pretty soon, when the temperature didn’t go away and he was coughing up blood after many days, that’s when he finally went in and he got a test,” Klobuchar said.
Bessler was hospitalized with dangerously low oxygen levels.
“For me the hardest thing, which I now know every Minnesotan is going to experience, (is) that you have a loved one that is in the hospital or maybe assisted living and you can’t visit,” Klobuchar said. “This is day 16 — no 15 — since he had symptoms, so this is a long, long thing for a lot of people.”
Bessler’s home but still sick, so Klobuchar has found some familiar living arrangements.
“He still could be contagious, they just don’t know. So I’m staying at Sen. Tina Smith’s apartment that she lent me. So I’m like a vagabond,” she said.
While Bessler recovers from the virus, Klobuchar has been helping to pass a recovery bill.
“Unemployment benefits have been expanded from where they would normally be, they are $600 a week more than Minnesota would normally get a week,” she said.
Klobuchar says she plans to wave at her husband through the window for now, because right now distance makes us all stronger in the face of COVID-19.
“It’s got to be a moment when we step back and say, I’m doing this for the good of my fellow citizens, not just for me,” she said.