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- A Diamond Princess cruise ship passenger who tested positive for the coronavirus disease is being treated at a San Francisco hospital.
- He said he feels perfectly fine and isn't experiencing any of the typical symptoms of the virus.
- He eats three meals a day, he exercises, reads on his Kindle, and keeps up with the news.
- The patient is one of the hundreds who contracted the virus while onboard the ship and was initially quarantined at Travis Air Force Base 50 miles outside of San Francisco before being transferred to the city.
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An evacuee from the Diamond Princess cruise ship has tested positive for the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, and is being treated in a San Francisco hospital.
But the patient, 62-year-old Rick Wright, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he feels perfectly fine.
The Redwood City resident spoke with the Chronicle's Mallory Moench by phone about his experience aboard the Diamond Princess and his time quarantined at first the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, about 50 miles to the northeast of San Francisco, and now at UCSF. His wife remains quarantined at the base.
"My wife and I, we remain positive and we're not bitching and moaning, we're accepting it and we have got to get through it, that's how we approach it," Wright told the Chronicle. "We're survivalists. We're fine."
Wright said he hasn't experienced the typical symptoms of the virus, such as fever, coughing, or shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said these symptoms usually appear within two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Wright stays in his hospital room at a UCSF campus and receives three good meals a day. He occupies his time with exercising, reading, keeping up with the news, and staying in constant contact with his family, including his wife with whom he FaceTimes.
Wright is one of the hundreds of evacuated Diamond Princess passengers who contracted the coronavirus while onboard the ship in Japan.
Three days after a man who had exited the ship tested positive for the coronavirus on February 1, Japanese officials locked down the ship. Shortly after, 10 people on board tested positive as well. The entire boat and its 3,711 crew members and guests were then placed under a 14-day quarantine. Passengers were confined to their rooms mostly.
Health experts criticized the decision to keep people quarantined on the ship.
The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
"From a virologist's perspective, a cruise ship with a large number of persons on board is more an incubator for viruses rather than a good place for quarantine," Anne Gatignol, a microbiologist who studies viruses at McGill University, told the Montreal Gazette.
Japanese officials just admitted that the quarantine was "flawed," and may have allowed the spread of infections to more passengers and crew members.
By the time passengers left the ship, headed for an additional 14-day quarantine on land, 691 people were infected with the coronavirus.
Hector Amezcua/AP Photo
Source: Business Insider
Some of the infected evacuees were taken to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Others, like Wright and his wife, were taken to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California.
Hector Amezcua/AP Photo
Source: The San Francisco Chronicle
Two days after the couple arrived on the base on February 17, CDC staffers donned in hazmat suits told Wright that he had tested positive and was to be transferred to one of the city's UCSF hospital campuses.
Nicholas Pilch/U.S. Air Force via AP
"I was never anticipating anybody coming to my door to say I'm positive," Wright told the Chronicle. "The news came, we cried a little bit, and then I got a little upset. I was more upset at leaving her alone."
He was strapped to a gurney and transferred via ambulance.
Wright told the Chronicle that he has undergone more tests since the positive reading that landed him in the local hospital. He tested negative for one on February 20, then positive for one on February 21. He took two more on Sunday and Monday and depending on those results, he may be able to transition to a home quarantine, something that some 8,400 Californians are doing as the virus continues to spread.
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