Hawaii’s first celebrity resident and former “Hawaii Five-0” actor Daniel Dae Kim has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Kim released details this morning of his diagnosis, which was confirmed yesterday, on his Instagram account from his home in Hawaii.
He said he was in New York over the past several weeks playing, ironically, a doctor who gets recruited to a hospital during a flu pandemic. The show stopped production when outbreaks of COVID-19 started in the United States. He is one of 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Hawaii.
Kim said he was asymptomatic while on his way back home to the islands until just before the flight landed and his throat started to get scratchy, “which is unlike how I usually get sick.” His was told by his doctor to monitor his symptoms and quarantined himself in a room away from his family. But later that night, he developed tightness in his chest, body aches and fever, and his physician told him to get tested. The next day he went to a drive-thru COVID-19 clinic.
“It was worth it because of what I found out,” Kim said, adding that the doctor prescribed some medications and he went straight home to recuperate. He noted that was the only time he left his house since coming home and that he never went to a hospital. He started feeling better in the following days, though he is still not 100 percent recovered.
He urged the public, especially younger people, to be vigilant in following the government directives of social distancing.
“A lot of younger people can carry the virus without having any symptoms whatsoever. That was not me. I was sick. I still am, but thankfully for me it wasn’t a matter of life and death,” he said, adding that his family has all tested negative. “For all those out there, especially teenagers and millennials who think this is not serious, please know that it is. And if you treat this without care you are potentially endangering the lives of millions of people, including your loved ones. For the sake of everyone else, please follow the guidelines: socially distance, self-isolate, stop touching your face and of course, wash your hands.”
The actor apologized to anyone he may have exposed, including the cast and crew of the TV series, New Amsterdam.
“I feel terrible thinking that I could’ve given this to anyone, let alone people I value enough to spend time with,” he said.
In the Facebook post, Kim argued that health care, specifically coronavirus testing, should be for all who meet the qualifications because “the virus doesn’t care about race or gender, religion, sexual orientation, whether you’re rich or poor or your immigration status. Only we seem to care about that.”
He also thanked the front-line medical providers who “risk their lives every day for the rest of us” with many losing their lives in the process, as well as workers at grocery stores, pharmacies, airlines, taxis or ride-sharing cars, asking his followers to continue patronizing them during the crisis. “You’re often taken for granted, but not now. Now you’re the glue that is keeping us together.”
He went on to implore people to stop the “prejudice and senseless violence against Asian people.”
“Randomly beating elderly, sometimes homeless Asian Americans is cowardly, heartbreaking and it’s inexcusable. Yes, I’m Asian and yes, I have coronavirus, but I did not get it from China,” he said. “I got it in America, in New York City. I don’t consider the place where it’s from as important as the people who are sick and dying.”
He ended the video with the ‘silver linings’ of his disease, which allows him to spread messages of hope to others showing symptoms and those who can prevent the spread. He was hopeful to build immunity to the virus so that he won’t need a vaccine when it is developed and pledged to donate antibodies in that effort.
“I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life. I’m grateful to be alive and healthy. It gives me hope that through our collective efforts we can beat this thing and flatten the curve,” Kim said, ending the post with a dose of humor. “In the meantime, please be safe, please be healthy and please be kind to one another and stop hoarding the toilet paper. Seriously, how dirty are you down there?”