Steve Wozniak says he (or his wife) might be ‘patient zero’ for COVID-19 in US

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Steve Wozniak
Steve Wozniak might, or might not, have helped introduce the coronavirus into the US.
Photo: The DEMO Conference/Flickr CC

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak suggested in a tweet Monday that he or his wife might be “patient zero” for the COVID-19 virus currently spreading in the United States. Wozniak said he and Janet Hill came home from China early this year, as the novel coronavirus began to wreak havoc in Wuhan.

Update: Wozniak’s wife says she has an ordinary sinus infection.

Wozniak made the claim via a Swarm check-in posted to Twitter, saying he and Hill were at the West Coast Sports Institute in Santa Clara, California, “checking out Janet’s bad cough. Started Jan. 4. We had just returned from China and may have both been patient zero in U.S.”

Update: Woz’s wife doesn’t have COVID-19

A reporter with USA Today contacted Hill, who says Woz’s wife has a simple sinus infection.

It was never clear whether Wozniak actually thought he had the notorious disease. He says his Twitter account is for “jokes and pranks.” It’s possible this was one. Cult of Mac asked Wozniak for additional information.

COVID-19 isn’t easily diagnosed because it presents the same symptoms and many other illnesses: fever, runny nose, coughing and breathing trouble. And most people get a mild case of the disease. However, with some others, especially those who already have other medical problems, COVID-19 can turn into deadly pneumonia.

The outbreak continues to spread around the globe, with cases recently popping up in California. At last count, the World Health Organization counted 88,948 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 3,043 deaths.

After Wozniak’s tweet made headlines, it generated plenty of concern from well-wishers (along with some legitimately funny jokes):