13 Feb 2020

'I never really felt unwell' - coronavirus patient

From Checkpoint, 5:27 pm on 13 February 2020

More than 1300 people have now died after contracting Covid-19 coronavirus. But what is it actually like to have the flu-like virus?

Rebecca Frasure from the United States has coronavirus, but does not appear to be unwell.

She spoke to Checkpoint in a video interview from isolation in a Tokyo hospital after she tested positive for the virus while on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The ship is docked in Yokohama and all passengers on board are quarantined for 14 days. Frasure's husband is still there.

"I never really felt unwell, I had a little bit of a cough when they told me," she said.

"When I got here I had a bit of a fever, but all of that has normalised and I have no symptoms."

Patients who are on board the Princess Diamond and who have been found to test positive for the novel coronavirus are taken to an ambulance.

Rebecca Frasure's husband is among those in quarantine on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship berthed in Yokohama. Photo: AFP

She is not being treated with any medication, but simply seeing out the illness while being monitored in isolation at the hospital.

"Doctors and nurses who come in, they have like a plastic gown or apron covering their scrubs, a mask, a face shield, gloves, they do that every time they come in.

"They're just checking vitals - temperature, lungs, blood pressure, heart rate, and they do that a few times a day.

"I am going to be tested later on today for the virus - it's a two-step process. I'll be tested today and tomorrow, and I'll have to wait for those results."

Frasure's husband is still testing negative she said.  "I'd like it to stay that way… just waiting till we can be reunited."

She said there's no indication why she contracted the virus and her husband did not. "It's just the luck of the draw. I'm just lucky like that, I guess."

If Frasure's latest tests show negative results, she will be free to go and will wait in the area until her husband is free from the quarantined cruise ship.

"I feel perfectly healthy. So it really came as quite a shock that I have this. I expected it to be way more severe," she said.

"So it sounds like that is the case for the majority of the coronavirus 'sufferers'.

"A lot of them don't experience or exhibit a lot of symptoms. It's really those specialised age groups who are most at-risk that develop the extreme symptoms."

Frasure is relaxed about the ordeal. "This is just a blip on the radar and in hopefully a couple of weeks, a month, a year, it'll all be a distant memory."