Senator, 76, who beat COVID-19 said the disease is ‘very dangerous’ but ‘not necessarily a death sentence’


HONOLULU(KHON2)–Senator Clarence Nishihara was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March. He falls into the ‘high risk’ category for the illness, yet, he beat it. In fact, he said his symptoms were mild and he didn’t know he had it. He hopes his story helps people realize that while the disease is very serious it’s not necessarily a death sentence.

“I guess I’m lucky,” Nishihara said while waiting to donate plasma to help those currently fighting COVID-19.

Lucky. That’s how Nishihara feels more than a month after beating COVID-19.

“A 76-year-old guy who has diabetes, and I don’t know what else, but I would be the classic kind of patient that you would be worried about.”

But he said he’s completely recovered. And feels fortunate to have had only mild symptoms.

“I did have a fever that lasted four days and went up to about a 102 degrees… I didn’t have that where you end up in the hospital, need a respirator and all that stuff.”

He said after the fever went away, he had some congestion–he thought he had a cold.

That was in February, before the disease was widespread. He went to the doctor because he had an upcoming trip to Las Vegas planned.

“(The doctor) said I have some kind of a flu, but he didn’t say it was COVID.”

A few days later, Nishihara said he felt better so he went on his trip.

“After I came back, I still had my cold.”

But because he had the high fever two weeks prior, he got tested just in case.

It came back positive for COVID-19.

“I was a little surprised because I didn’t think that I had the symptoms.”

Nishihara went home and quarantined in his bedroom for 14 days. He said that was the hardest part.

“After a while, you just live in one room– it closes in on you.”

Now that he’s better, he has a message to share.

“We shouldn’t minimize the danger of the disease because it really is a dangerous disease.”

But he added that although COVID-19 can be deadly “it is not a necessarily a death sentence.”

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