Cheryl Burke Felt ‘a Lot of Shame’ Over Her Breakthrough COVID-19 Case

Cheryl Burke says she dealt with feelings of sadness and shame right after learning she had a breakthrough case of COVID-19 that derailed her participation in Dancing With the Stars.

Burke, who first revealed she tested positive for the virus on Sunday, September 26, 2021, initially “had all types of feelings” about the news, she told E! News on that Wednesday. “There was a lot of shame behind it for some reason,” the DWTS champ said. “Disappointed, sad, just hopeless, because you can’t really control the situation.”

Burke isn’t sure how she was exposed to the virus. “I have no answers, really, as to how I got it.” But she did note that she’d been flying a lot during DWTS so she could keep up with daily rehearsals with her partner, Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby (who still has his other job while competing, Burke said). “All I know is that we’ve been traveling back and forth from L.A. to New York,” she explained. 

After the initial emotional shock of learning she had a breakthrough infection, Burke is keeping her spirits up while staying at home in a separate part of the house from her husband. “We’re in the same home, but I haven’t seen my husband for a few days, so it’s really weird,” Burke said, adding that the pair are wearing masks and FaceTiming to communicate.

Four days after being diagnosed, the dancer is feeling pretty okay physically. “I feel oddly normal, which is weird,”  she said. Burke credits the mildness of her illness to the fact that she is fully vaccinated. “I’m thankful that I got my vaccinations and I’m fully vaccinated,” she said. “That’s definitely, probably the reason why I’m not in the hospital, God forbid.” (Full vaccination significantly reduces your risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death. A large study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that just 3.2% of fully vaccinated people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Los Angeles County between May and July 2021 were hospitalized.)

Burke is hopeful that she will be able to return to compete on DWTS after she is no longer contagious. “I mean, I would love to [return], I hope so…. This is just the beginning of the competition,” said Burke, who recently opened up about being nervous to compete on the show while sober. “I’m hoping that I’ll be able to be cleared very soon, and maybe just go back to the way it was,” she added. “I don’t know, we’re taking it day by day.” In the meantime, Burke joked that she’ll be joining dance practice virtually and “Zooming into those rehearsals.” 

Burke first shared her diagnosis with fans in an emotional Instagram video on Sunday. “Not only do I feel scared and at a loss for words, I do feel run down a little bit,” she said while in the car on her way to take a COVID test. Later in the video, a shocked Burke shared that the results of the PCR test she’d taken that morning. “I have really bad news: I am positive, which means I have COVID,” she said. “I’ve been feeling progressively worse.”

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