“Vietnam vo dich! (Vietnam’s the champ!)” the 57-year-old American exclaimed as he walked out of the hospital’s quarantine zone with his wife, supporting himself with a stick.
He and his 46-year-old Vietnamese wife were the city’s first locally transmitted novel coronavirus infections in Vietnam’s second Covid-19 wave that started late July. Their diagnosis was confirmed on July 29.
Nguyen Thanh Phong, head of the Infection D Department at the hospital, said the American martial artist was the most seriously ill Covid-19 patient the hospital had received in the second wave. He had earlier been to several other medical facilities in the central city of Da Nang, the epicenter of the second wave, and HCMC.
“During his first day at the hospital, his condition was severe. He had pneumonia and pneumothorax, requiring constant oxygenation and intensive care for nearly two weeks,” Phong said.
At the point of his discharge, his underlying conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and arthritis, had been stabilized. But he still needs a stick to support himself when walking due to joint pain.
His wife said the couple have lived and worked in Da Nang for several years. When they traveled to HCMC for treatment on July 20, they were not prepared for the Covid-19 diagnosis as Da Nang at that time had not recorded any new cases in months.
“We were really shocked when test results returned positive for the coronavirus. I’m healthy so that’s fine, but my husband’s already old and has several underlying conditions,” she said.
They were also worried that they’d affected the community as they had been in contact with several medical workers, friends and family members before they were confirmed infected, the wife said. When the husband was hospitalized, she encouraged him to do light exercises and read positive news so he could relax and recover quickly.
The martial artist thanked the numerous medical workers who tended to him. He said Vietnam’s Covid-19 prevention and treatment protocols were top-notch.
The three other Covid-19 patients released Monday afternoon were all women, between 26 and 61 years old. The HCMC Hospital for Tropical Disease now has no Covid-19 patients left.
Also Monday, Hanoi announced seven new Covid-19 recoveries, aged 7 to 54, after the patients tested negative for the virus at least four times.
In Da Nang, five Covid-19 patients at the Da Nang Hospital for Lung Diseases, aged 30-47, were announced recovering Monday after testing negative for the virus at least three times.
Vietnam has recorded 1,040 Covid-19 cases to date, with 292 active cases and 33 deaths.
This article was originally published in Vnexpress