Steve Wozniak says he and his wife don’t know if they were sickened by coronavirus after a trip in January to Southeast Asia and could have been “patient zero” for the U.S. spread of the deadly virus.
They were not tested for coronavirus, he told USA TODAY late Monday.
The Apple co-founder had hinted in a tweet that he and Janet Wozniak, who was seeking care Monday for a bad cough, might have been infected.
“Checking out Janet’s bad cough. Started Jan. 4. We had just returned from China and may have both been patient zero in U.S. (@ West Coast Sports Institute in Santa Clara, CA),” Woz tweeted from his verified Twitter account.
Janet Wozniak later told USA TODAY she had been diagnosed with a sinus infection.
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Both had sore throats and coughs when they returned from Southeast Asia on Jan. 4, Wozniak says. He was scheduled to make a handful of appearances in Las Vegas right after the trip but only made a couple and could not speak because he had lost his voice.
“We cancelled everything else to head home but I couldn’t move out of bed for two days. I did tell everyone that I was sick and stayed away from almost all in Vegas, Wozniak said.
Wozniak described the experience as “the worst flu of our lives.”
“Janet was coughing up blood and went to the hospital and they said it was no American flu,” he said. “We have not been able to get tested in this country. Had our return from Southeast Asia been today, we’d certainly have been tested and quarantined, with the symptoms we had. But it wasn’t treated as important back then.”
Wozniak says he notified the Centers for Disease Control but received a form letter advising them to wash their hands.
“There was no test for this COVID-19 then. Eventually, they did have a test but you could only get it done through the CDC and they wouldn’t test people like myself and Janet, who were well past symptoms,” he told USA TODAY.
As for the tweet that alarmed everyone, “‘patient zero’ was kind of a joke,” said Wozniak, who added the couple also suffered from gastrointestinal symptoms.
“I think that our GI symptoms better fit some other flu, because you rarely hear of that with COVID-19,” he said. “But there’s no way to find out until we can get a test, and now it’s 2 months later, and a month past symptoms.”