How To Sign 'Coronavirus,' From Gov. Pritzker's Interpreter

Michael Albert Sign Interpreter
Photo credit Michael Albert signs the comments of public officials at a recent news conference. (WBBM Newsradio)

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- If you’ve watched any of Governor Pritzker’s briefings on coronavirus, you’ve no doubt noticed Michael Albert: the sign-language interpreter for the deaf.

Albert said Monday he used to think he was a man who enjoyed the spotlight. Now, he’s not so sure.

“I’ve been a little bit chagrined at any kind of attention that’s been paid to me, personally, because this is really just my job,” he said.

Our sign language interpreter, Michael, with a PSA on how to sign Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/oyCJKkibM0

— Anne Caprara (@anacaprana) March 14, 2020

Albert says he’s also been surprised by some of the comments posted about him after a news conference.

"My eyes are kind of sunken and heavy-lidded. People compared that to Sylvester Stallone,” he said. “The Screech thing just came out of nowhere.”

That’s a reference to the Screech character from the television show “Saved by the Bell.”

Albert, a Skokie native, has done sign language interpretation for presidents and mayors, besides Gov. Pritkzer. He also has had the emotionally tough job of interpreting for families who have end-of-life discussions.

This is different: “Making absolutely certain that the information is clear and accurate is so vital. It always is, but certainly in the middle of a pandemic, and I’m interpreting to an audience of people I can’t see.”

The sign for coronavirus is one hand over the other. Then one hand opens out and extends.

“I usually say, it’s like a crown. And it’s also like something that’s spreading,” Albert said.