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San Antonio’s Cleto Rodriguez reflects on COVID-19 battle

It’s been one year since beloved San Antonio comedian and former TV personality Cleto Rodriguez was released from the hospital after his grueling fight with COVID-19. Rodriguez first contracted the illness in July 2021, along with the rest of his family. All of them were unvaccinated at the time.

Rodriguez tells MySA that his lungs were severely damaged and are taking a little longer to heal. He says he still can’t walk fast or run just yet. Rodriguez also says he has brain fog where he can’t remember some things.

He spent about three weeks in the ICU and six to seven months recovering at home. When he was first admitted to the hospital, Rodriguez says he was using 100 liters of oxygen.

Cleto Rodriguez's wife, Lynette, visits him in the hospital in July 2022.

Cleto Rodriguez’s wife, Lynette, visits him in the hospital in July 2022.

Lynette Rodriguez

“While in the hospital, (it) was the scariest time in my life,” he says.

During his time in the ICU, Rodriguez says his father-in-law, Roger, was just two doors away from him, also battling COVID-19. Unfortunately, Roger died at the age of 77.

In a show of support, San Antonio rallied to support Rodriguez and his family during that difficult time. In addition to all the get-well messages and prayers, April Ancira, vice president of Ancira Auto Group, launched a GoFundMe, which surpassed its goal of $50,000.

April Ancira launched a Go Fund Me for Cleto Rodriguez and his family. In June, he was with Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, who also later said he had COVID.

April Ancira launched a Go Fund Me for Cleto Rodriguez and his family. In June, he was with Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, who also later said he had COVID.

Screen Grab, gofundme.com

“I’m so grateful to everyone that supported me through this difficult time financially, and spiritually,” Rodriguez says. “It meant so much to my family and myself! Your thoughts and prayers are what got me through!”

Though he’s still dealing with some lasting effects of the virus, he’s back to doing what he loves most – making people laugh.

“I have been working on getting back to some normalcy,” he says. “I have a new Internet radio broadcast/podcast with my friend Rita Hernandez (Live on air with Rita) called ‘Rita and Cleto Show.'”

Rodriguez also says he’s still performing his stand-up comedy show at Las Chiladas Mexican Restaurant. He’s also been keeping busy with promoting his newest comedy special now on Amazon Prime called Cleto Is My Real Name! And that’s not all, he’s also working on his next comedy special for Dry Bar Comedy.

San Antonio comedian Cleto Rodriguez.

San Antonio comedian Cleto Rodriguez.

Express-News file photo

The biggest takeaway from this experience, Rodriguez says, is he’s learning to appreciate life a little more.

“I don’t sweat the small stuff as much!” he says. “I find myself embracing every single moment of my life! I actually take time to literally smell the roses! I thank God for every day and the people he puts in my path! I also don’t take breathing for granted anymore! Thank you, San Antonio for all of your love and support! I’m eternally grateful!”

Cleto Rodriguez released from the hospital after battle with COVID-19.

Cleto Rodriguez released from the hospital after battle with COVID-19.

Methodist Hospital / Metropolitan


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