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Atlanta couple aboard Japanese cruise ship remain optimistic after being hospitalized with coronavirus

The ship was carrying 3,700 passengers, and a total of 64 passengers have tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus. Clyde and Renee Smith were among them.

ATLANTA — A couple from Atlanta is recovering in a Japanese hospital after testing positive for the deadly coronavirus while on a cruise.

Their adult grandchildren are still on the ship, which is docked south of Tokyo, where passengers are being quarantined.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship was carrying 3,700 passengers, and a total of 64 passengers have tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus. 

Clyde and Renee Smith were among those that tested positive, and have been in the hospital for four days now. 

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11Alive's Joe Henke spoke with the couple's son over the phone Wednesday afternoon, who said they're remaining optimistic about the situation, despite the gravity of it.

"Obviously when they tested positive, I was very, very concerned. Very scared," David Smith told 11Alive from his home in Macon. 

"When they took my parents to the hospital, they were originally weren't sure they could even take them to the same hospital. But then ended up getting to the same hospital, ended up getting them rooms next to each other and then actually the nurse moved my father's bed into my mom's room, so they are actually in the same hospital room," he explained.

Credit: Provided

David explained that his parents, both "very young, energetic, healthy" 80 years old, both tested positive after leaving the cruise ship to head out on an excursion.

"The original person that tested positive was on that bus with them for the excursion, so they tested everybody that was on the bus and that is why they tested them first," he said. 

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Once at the hospital, David said his dad's health took another hit.

"They did some tests on him there - everything - and it turned out my dad had pneumonia, as well, which was very, very scary," he said. "But now he is doing great from that, and everything is very well right now. ... all the prayers and everybody’s thoughts are working. They’re doing very, very well right now.” 

David said his two adult nephews, who traveled with his parents, are still on the cruise ship in quarantine. They're expecting to be there for at least another week.

"But also I've heard when more people test positive - and I understand more people tested positive today - that may be extended out,"  David added.

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As nurses continue to monitor his parents, David said, currently, they aren't showing any coronavirus symptoms. He added that he is overwhelmed by the support though they're receiving.

"My parents are the most incredible, kindest people I know," he said. "Because of that, they're loved by so many people. It is almost like a full-time job answering everybody that is calling, checking on them, praying for them and just want to say thank you for everybody's prayers and concerns."

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David said the hardest part is being so far from his parents as they're in the hospital, but he has been told, even if he went to Japan, they wouldn't be able to see visitors.

With every phone call he receives, David said their condition continues to improve, which he says is promising.


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