Hawaii man sickened by coronavirus on quarantined cruise ship recounts his ordeal

Updated: Feb. 15, 2020 at 11:15 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 70-year-old man from Honolulu who caught coronavirus while on board a cruise ship now quarantined off Yokohama is in isolation in a Japan hospital.

He told Hawaii News Now he had no fever Friday and is feeling better.

“Just lucky to be alive,” said Dan Tyson, who’s at Saitama Prefectural Cardiovascular Disease Center in Japan. The healthcare workers who care for him wear a full protective suit, mask and googles.

“I just got a little cough and temperature. That’s basically been my body’s reaction,” he said, slightly coughing several times during an interview with Hawaii News Now via Facetime.

“While going through the adventure it’s pretty stressful to say the least,” he added with a laugh.

Tyson is one of at least six Hawaii residents on the cruise ship, and among several who have fallen ill.

[Read more: 2 Hawaii residents on quarantined cruise ship off Japan contract coronavirus]

Tyson said it all started on Feb. 1 when his eyes got red. He was treated by ship doctors for conjunctivitis.

On Feb. 4, the ship was ordered into quarantine off Yokohama ― the same day he got a fever that later spiked to 101 degrees.

Tyson says despite his symptoms, the ship’s medical crew was overwhelmed and he wasn’t tested until four days later. On Feb. 11, he was taken to a hospital. By then, he says, he was feeling better.

"They put me in this crazy ambulance with two other people who are hacking that probably had early onset of this thing when I was recovering," said Tyson.

"They put me back in this area with these people, I think I re-caught the thing," he added.

In the hospital, he learned he had the contagious virus and his symptoms came back. He thinks he knows who initially spread the infection on the ship.

"A Chinese gentleman who brought this virus aboard, he was an avid sauna aficionado and apparently he used the sauna and maybe I was in the sauna with him," said Tyson.

In the hospital, it's just food, water and rest since there's no medication to treat coronavirus. Tyson's wife, who's from Hawaii, and his Japanese mother-in-law are still on board and are fine.

After his symptoms clear, he'll need two negative tests to be released from the hospital.

Once Tyson comes back to Hawaii, it's unclear if he'll have to go into home quarantine for 14 days.

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