Loretta Lynn: Coronavirus Quarantine Is ‘the Damndest Thing I’ve Ever Seen’
Loretta Lynn will turn 88 on Tuesday (April 14), and she'll likely spend her birthday inside due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The country icon has seen plenty in her nearly nine full decades on Earth — but this particular experience is a new one.
"Yeah, we've been quarantined," Lynn tells Billboard. "It's the damnedest thing I ever seen."
Born in 1932, Lynn missed the 1918 flu pandemic, during which about 675,000 Americans died, by just over a decade. Other infectious diseases have sprung up since then, but none as deadly and globally problematic as the novel coronavirus.
As of April 7, there have been more than 370,000 reported cases of the coronavirus in the United States, and 12,064 reported deaths, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, prompting many states to declare "safer at home" orders and request citizens to practice proper social distancing and, more recently, wear masks or other coverings over their mouths and noses when they leave their houses.
The spread of the coronavirus has differed in different parts of the U.S., and across the globe, but the country music community has not been immune. '90s country artist Joe Diffie died of the virus, at the age of 61, on March 29, while Texas star Ray Benson is among those who have recently revealed his diagnosis with COVID-19, and his struggle to get tested for the virus.
Folk icon John Prine remains in a Nashville-area ICU and "very ill" after contracting the disease as well. Like Prine, who is in his 70s and has beat cancer twice, Lynn is considered at high risk for the coronavirus because of her age.