Padma Lakshmi admits she's 'freaked out' about latest COVID surge

Padma Lakshmi is reaching out to her social media family for emotional support amidst the Omicron variant surge.

On Monday, the Top Chef host took to Instagram to voice the concerns she’s been having about her family traveling on a plane at this time, given that new research shows the Omicron variant to be spreading much faster than the Delta variant did at its peak.

“Hello friends — are you guys a bit freaked out like I am?” Lakshmi started. “Yesterday I brought my parents back home for Christmas. I’m glad they can be with me and Littlehands, but throughout the trip back from LA I was so worried about whether it’s prudent to put them on a plane. How wary will we need to be of others again and how small will we need to decrease the circle of activities we have finally come to enjoy again after so many months?”

“School went totally remote again last Tuesday,” she continued. “I worry for my child and other young ones having to endure another wave of isolation. Their childhood already forever marred. I’m glad they’re saying this new variant isn’t as severe as Delta, but who knows? All the Lakshmi women have asthma. And my folks are getting old.

“I’ve been vaxxed and boosted,” clarified Lakshmi. “I’ve put my mask on again for any indoor activities that are outside my home and I’ve been getting tested frequently. My family and I are all healthy so far and doing what we can to stay safe, but I’m still so worried. What about all of you? How is everyone feeling?”

Lakshmi’s concern is warranted. According to the latest data from the CDC, the United States recently surpassed 50 million COVID-19 cases and 800,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic in December 2019.

Commenters were quick to voice their own worry, while also praising Lakshmi for using her platform to have this very serious discussion.

"Confused, frustrated, and a little depressed about what this means for our collective future," wrote cookbook author Joanne Molinaro.

"I’m frustrated. Annoyed. Concerned," another commenter added. "I’m vaxxed & boosted. All my kids are vaxxed. I’m afraid we’re going to slip back to where we were last year. And I really don’t want my kids to go back to virtual learning."

"Almost all my friends in nyc have covid," one person wrote. "I tested positive yesterday. I don’t feel very well, but at least we are all in this together. Please cancel all social events and stay safe."

"I’m so sorry you’re anxious Padma!" chimed in another. "Do whatever you think is best and take time for self-care. I’m extremely anxious these days, especially since my girlfriend is in her home city of London and we fear a travel ban. Thank you for being so candid! I really appreciate you."

"Very worried, very tired, and very defeated," a fan wrote. "But also very grateful to have a safe and secure living situation while we endure it all."

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi has used her platform during the pandemic to voice concerns about how it's impacting her personal life. (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Despite the pandemic haunting much of our travel plans, Lakshmi has continuously used her platform to fight for what she thinks is right.

Earlier this year, she and Top Chef co-star Gail Simmons banned together to speak out against Texas’s anti-abortion law, SB8, which was enacted in September and prohibits abortions once doctors can detect cardiac activity, which is usually around six weeks — before some women know they’re pregnant.

"Texans are up against so much right now,” Laskshmi tweeted in September. “A hateful anti-abortion bill, erasure of voting rights, and a humanitarian and constitutional crisis at the border. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. Its government and the majority of its people oppose @GovAbbott's heinous bills.”

She continued, “Our show highlights the small businesses that hire the very same women, BIPOC people and low-income folks that these laws harm most."

Laskshmi added that she’s “continuing the fight” by working with local Houston organizations like Planned Parenthood Action, Abortion Funds and the American Civil Liberties Union.

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