The 63-year-old actor spoke with “The National Defense Radio Show” on Thursday about his and his wife Rita Wilson’s experiences with COVID-19, sharing that it affected them both in different ways.
“Rita went through a tougher time than I did,” he said. “She had a much higher fever. She had lost her sense of taste and sense of smell. She got absolutely no joy from food for a better part of three weeks.”
Hanks said that he had “had some bad body aches and was very fatigued, and that’s how the COVID-19 went through us.”
He said that Wilson’s condition, and side-effects from chloroquine, which has been used since the 1940s to prevent and treat malaria as well as to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, led to his wife being “so nauseous.” (The drug is currently being used as a treatment for COVID-19, however its effectiveness has not yet been proven.)
“She was so nauseous she had to crawl on the floor from the bed to the facilities,” Hanks said, “and it lasted a while.”
The Cast Away actor said that he tried to do 30-minute stretches every day while in recovery as well as “other old man things.”
“I was wiped after 12 minutes. I laid down in my hospital bed and just slept,” Hanks said.
“Whoever it was, a doctor or nurse, would come into our air pressurized, isolation rooms. She said, ‘How are you feeling?’ and I said, ‘I just had the weirdest thing. I just tried to do basic stretches and exercises on the floor and I couldn’t even get halfway through,” he recalled. “And she looked at me through her glasses like she was talking to the dumbest human being. And she said, ‘You have COVID-19.’”
Hanks announced in early March that he and his wife had tested positive for the virus. They recuperated while in Australia.
“It was relatively early in Australia’s response to the coronavirus, and they wanted us to not give it to anyone else,” Hanks said. “That’s why we were in lockdown.”
Last week, Wilson opened up about the “extreme” side effects she experienced while taking the drug chloroquine during her illness.
“About Day 9, they gave me chloroquine. And I know people have been talking about this drug, but I can only tell you that I don’t know if the drug worked or it was just time for the fever to break,” Wilson said.
Wilson went on to describe the side effects she says she experienced from chloroquine, which can include heart rhythm problems, severely low blood pressure and muscle or nerve damage.
“But my fever did break. But the chloroquine had such extreme side effects. I was completely nauseous and I had vertigo. I could not walk, and my muscles felt very weak. … I think people have to be very considerate about that drug. We don’t really know if it’s helpful in this case,” Wilson said.
Wilson said that her husband had “milder symptoms” than she did.
“He had milder symptoms. He didn’t have as high a fever. … He did not lose his sense of taste or smell. … But it still took us the same time to get through it,” Wilson said.
Wilson said that they contracted the novel coronavirus from somebody they were both “exposed to at the same time.”
“It was somebody, they said, that Tom and I were both exposed to at the same time,” Wilson said. “We don’t know when that could’ve been or where. … But all I can say is all of our close contacts, family … on our work team, no one has tested positive.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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