Dr. Mehmet Oz’s mother, Suna Oz, has COVID-19, a diagnosis made “even worse” by her Alzheimer’s disease, the TV host says.
Mehmet learned over the weekend that his mother, who lives in Turkey, had tested positive, he says in exclusive clips from The Dr. Oz Show, airing Friday. He has not been able to visit her due to the pandemic, and will not be able to now.
“The news rocked us, my whole family,” he says. “And now, what's even harder, is not being able to run to her side. My story is your story. We all have older loved ones with health problems doubly struck with this virus, and we can’t go to their side, because they’ve got COVID-19.”
Suna has been living at her home in Turkey, and Mehmet and his family are not sure how she was infected, he tells PEOPLE. She may have contracted COVID-19 from a passerby during her walks along the Bosporus waterway near her home, he adds.
Mehmet says that Suna is “doing very well” so far.
“Thankfully, she's taking the medications as prescribed by her doctors in Turkey,” he says. “There's a national protocol, so they don't fool around with this… I just spoke to her this morning, and thank goodness, she does not seem to be suffering the bad consequences of COVID-19.”
He is worried, though, “what damage this virus will do to her already failing memory.”
“It could make it worse. It could make a bad situation that much more difficult to cope with, for a mother than I love so much.”
Three of Suna’s nurses will be quarantining with her to monitor her symptoms, Mehmet says, and he will continue to FaceTime and call her daily to keep her spirits up, but he’s concerned for her and other elderly adults living at home.
“What really worries me and should worry everyone at home, is the social isolation that comes along with either fear of the disease, or once you've actually gotten it, is not being around anybody else,” he says. “When you take someone who is, in my mom's case, 82 years old, birthday this week, and you sort of box her into a cage and she can't talk to folks and she can't relate and find her areas of foundation, it worsens her problem dramatically. I see that happening in a lot of older Americans.”
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