Northeast Ohio couple from coronavirus cruise ship: ‘Don’t panic’

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– A local senior citizen just recovered from coronavirus. Now, he and his wife are back home sharing their story exclusively with the FOX 8 I-Team.

This marks the first time we’re hearing from someone who survived. The man and his wife have a message for everyone about living through the coronavirus even as concern grows every day.

Leo and Diane Masztak are unpacking bags and finally relaxing in Portage County. They are enjoying a homecoming and reunion after Leo spent weeks in a Japanese hospital recovering from the coronavirus. Diane spent weeks alone quarantined in a room hours away until days ago.

“I’m very glad to be home. Trust me, I’m really glad to be home,” Leo said.

He also spoke about seeing his wife again, “I couldn’t keep my hands off her. I mean that in a good way.”

“It reminded me of how much you really need each other and how much you do for each other,” Diane said.

The couple had taken a cruise, where hundreds of passengers ended up infected with the coronavirus, including Leo. He had no idea.

“They tested everybody over 80 (years old). Other than that, he was just tired and getting a cough. Nothing serious,” Diane said.

“I felt no different than normal. I had a slight cough in the morning,” Leo said.

While he didn’t notice any significant symptoms, he said doctors also found he had pneumonia. That led to weeks apart in a foreign country for these great-grandparents.

“There was a lot of loneliness. There was nothing in the room. No radio. No TV,” Leo said.

“Separation from our family was probably the worst part,” Diane said.

The couple just flew back from Japan. They were cleared to come back into this country and go anywhere now. If anyone has any questions, Diane and Leo have documents from a Japanese hospital and the government showing Leo has recovered. Diane has a, “clean bill of health.”

They understand the concern about the coronavirus. But they said their story shows you don’t have to panic and you can survive.

“I don’t think being scared is gonna do any good. If you have a cold, don’t let it get worse, take your vitamin C. I mean, you can’t just hibernate and not go on and have life,” Diane said.

“The odds are in your favor that you’re gonna beat it,” Leo said. “I’ve had enough of this stuff to last a lifetime.”

He said doctors treated his pneumonia with medicine. They largely gave him fluids for battling the coronavirus. He said the medical care in Japan was top-notch.

In case you’re wondering, after all that, the couple still plans to go on another cruise someday.

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