Ari Edelson: Coming Out Of A 2-Week COVID Battle

By this point, nearly everyone in Westport knows someone who has suffered from COVID-19.

And by now, everyone should know that it does not strike only the elderly, or those with underlying health issues.

If you don’t believe that — or don’t think you know someone affected by the coronavirus — think again.

Ari Edelson is a 1994 graduate of Staples High School. After starring with Staples Players — including directing their groundbreaking production of “Falsettos” — and graduating from both Yale and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, he earned international fame as a producer and director in the US and Europe.

A few years ago, Ari Edelson was honored with a Westport Arts Center Horizon Award. (Photo/Emily Hamilton Laux)

On Sunday, Ari — who is in his mid-40s, and has been in excellent health — posted this on Facebook:

Hi, folks. Many of you have been amazing over the last 2 weeks as I dealt with being both home quarantined and put totally through the wringer with COVID-19. I just wanted to share my most heartfelt gratitude as I’m coming out the other side of it.

On March 15, I started having a minor elevated temp and cough, which then fully exploded into 8 days of delirious fevers of 103, coughs, and drenching sweats.

After a 2-week nightmarish battle, I have now been afebrile for 2 days, comfortable and gaining strength.

Julia Levy has been a superwoman through it all, not only taking care of me, but also somehow also keeping Eliot and Leo on their best behavior, coordinating care with my father (my forever medical hero), not to mention coming up with home school ideas for hundreds of thousands of other families through her work at Sparkler and Noggin.

Ari Edelson, Julia Levy and their son Eliot, in 2017.

She is truly phenomenal, as is the rest of my family. I am so thankful to the generous folks at Weill Cornell and Yale New Haven, who provided me and my family desperately appreciated guidance.

I am more than happy to answer questions for anyone, if my experience can be helpful. To one question I am getting already: Even though I went through New York State’s intake process to be tested on March 20, I was never able to get a test, and never even got the promised return phone call.

I cannot blame the state for it — they are more than overrun. But the failure of full national leadership to address this one fundamental issue and own up to it should give anyone pause about how you take care of a populace that you cannot even test.

If you cannot test, you cannot plan, and the data we are all seeing currently is faulty at its core. I will continue to be one of the likely hundreds of thousands of COVID cases that are unreported, an entire quadrant of data that may entirely shift understanding of the disease and our planning for it.

One other thing that we learned through this process was the importance of acquiring a pulse oximeter, a tiny little finger meter used to measure 02 circulation. With consistent use it kept us on top of this horrible virus as best we could, highlighting my luck in maintaining sufficient lung function and providing the light and sanity that kept us focused on convalescing and not taxing precious healthcare resources.

We were lucky that my O2 levels never went beneath the 92% threshold, but having the tools to monitor them made all the difference. If I can recommend anything to the many of you who have yet to have this virus hit your house, it is to say that knowledge is power, and science is to be heeded and trusted. Science is real.

And go get yourself a pulse oximeter to be safe.

And then — proving the coronavirus could not conquer his sense of humor — Ari posted this:

16 responses to “Ari Edelson: Coming Out Of A 2-Week COVID Battle

  1. Vanessa Bradford

    Ari so happy you are healing and almost through this! Very grateful for your wise advice and sharing this information. Best!

  2. Oh, Ari. So relieved you are on the other side of the virus and hope the rest of your family stays healthy. A virtual hug to you. Fran White

  3. Thank you, Ari, for sharing your story. Excellent suggestion re oximeter. I have one. Best wishes for your recovery. I love your family photo.
    Mary Condon

  4. If you are going to get a pulse oximeter, please get a legit one, there are tons of knock-offs for sale, especially on Amazon.

    • Bruce McFadden

      How does one determine if a pulse oximeter is legit? There are many on the market.

      • He used one from CVS. “Time was of the essence,” he said.

      • Order from a legitimate distributor such as Mckesson (or a reseller of Mckesson). Problem is most of the legit ones are sold out and the distributors are not accepting new accounts. I got mine from who is a reseller of Mckesson almost two months ago as I prepared for this. Seems like the price has tripled. I did look at the ones at CVS and they did not seem good. Unfortunately a doctor/hospital grade unit is significantly more expensive and you dont want to take those away from doctors and hospitals that need them.

  5. Kevin McCaul

    Afebrile? I just looked it up (it means not feverish). Nice to learn a new word. Thanks for sharing, Ari!

  6. Marilyn Smith

    Thank you I was wondering what that oxygen testing thing was called .

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Bruce McFadden

    Ari: Thanks for sharing! Is the pulse oximeter pictured in your
    article the one you used?

  8. Vanessa Bradford

    Thanks Josh for your input. Do you have a suggestion for a legit brand for a finger pulse oximeter?

  9. Great story and so glad Ari is doing well now!! Beautiful video. thanks

  10. My wife is in healthcare and has been exposed (but is fine for now), so I ordered a pulse oximeter from here, in stock now:

  11. Maybe you can’t post links? I found one here (add https://www to the “link” below):