Opinion | What It’s Like to Get Coronavirus on a Cruise Ship

Opinion | What It’s Like to Get Coronavirus on a Cruise Ship

It was surreal watching the reports on TV, seeing our ship on the news all over the world. One time, mid-announcement, the captain actually said, “I know you probably already heard this on the news.”

The fear of the unknown can be frightening. I had all the symptoms of the new coronavirus that I was reading and hearing about — with the exception of a constant cough. But we couldn’t communicate with the medical help available.

On the 13th, I woke up in a complete sweat, my sheets completely soaked. The fever had broken, my nausea was gone, my temperature was close to normal. I was able to eat breakfast. Then, funny enough, the phone rang in our room and it was the medical team explaining that they were going to take me to a hospital in Yokohoma, Chiba University Hospital. I tried to explain to them that I was feeling much better. The man on the phone said he would get back to me.

By the time I got out of the shower, there was a knock on the door, and two men dressed in full-body protective gear — those same face shields and medical gowns and all — were there to escort me off the ship. Without objection from the medical team watching and waiting for me, I hugged and kissed my wife. Then I was led down the ship corridor to a waiting ambulance.

Once at the hospital, I was placed in isolation, tested for the virus and told to wait for the results. Twenty-four hours later, I was informed by my doctor, who spoke great English, that I had tested positive for the virus.

I was shocked because I no longer felt any symptoms. I stayed in the hospital in Yokohama, quarantined for 14 days, only leaving to get a C.T. scan, which confirmed that the virus had given me pneumonia: “It’s what the virus does,” the doctor told me.

I asked other questions. But then I stopped asking them because every answer I got was, “We don’t know;” including to the question “How long am I going to be here?” In the meantime, my wife — along with the many other Americans on the Diamond Princess who didn’t seem to be exhibiting symptoms — was flown on a chartered flight by the United States government to Travis Air Force Base in California.

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