- The actor Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily Gordon, said they skipped an Emmys after-party.
- Gordon is immunocompromised and said the event didn’t feel safe because COVID testing wasn’t required.
- The couple said their COVID precautions are strict, including wearing masks at the gym.
The actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, the writer and producer Emily Gordon, skipped an Emmys after-party that didn’t require COVID testing to avoid putting Gordon, who is immunocompromised, at risk.
Gordon and Nanjiani have been married since 2007. Gordon was diagnosed with adult-onset Still’s disease, an autoimmune disorder, shortly after they began dating, an experience the pair depicted in their hit 2017 romantic comedy, “The Big Sick.”
Still’s disease is a rare inflammatory condition similar to rheumatoid arthritis and can be managed with medications, but it may cause serious complications like fluid in the lungs or heart problems if left untreated, according to the Mayo Clinic.
As a result, the couple’s everyday routine involves careful calculations to prevent a potentially dangerous infection, they told Insider in an interview about their new “Up the Antibodies” campaign.
The campaign, launched September 15 in partnership with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, is intended to remind people that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over and offers resources for the many immunocompromised people still working to protect their health.
Nanjiani said they weighs risk factors like the latest COVID-infection rates in deciding every activity, from having dinner with friends to participating in award shows and other Hollywood events.
“You can’t be 100% sure that nothing is going to happen. The only way to do that is stay home, and we don’t want to do that anymore,” he said.
They decided the risk of going to the Emmys was worth it, since the event required COVID testing.
But at many other events and social occasions, the pair said they’ve had to find work-arounds, be diligent with mask wearing, and keep up with the latest available science on boosters and other protective treatments.
Nanjiani and Gordon said they mask up at places like the gym, even if they’re the only ones there
While some COVID precautions have relaxed, the couple said they’ve had to stay rigorous about protecting themselves.
“Our COVID boundaries are a lot stricter than everybody else we know,” Nanjiani said. “Often we’re the only ones wearing masks wherever we are.”
They also try to time activities like going to a movie or hitting the gym at off-peak hours, and they opt to use the outdoor facilities at their LA gym or wear masks while exercising indoors.
“Is it fun to work out in a mask? No, it is not, but for both of us, working out has so many benefits mentally that I’m willing to put on a mask or work out in the intense heat outdoors,” Gordon said.
The couple also said they’ve worked hard to communicate with each other about boundaries and anxieties to navigate the risks together.
“It’s a constant negotiation, because for me it’s not a binary thing where we’re careful or we’re not careful,” Nanjiani said. “It’s all fluid and changing and both our approaches are different.”