Daniel Dae Kim shares his coronavirus journey, from scratchy throat to drive-through testing

Daniel Dae Kim
Daniel Dae Kim is speaking out about having COVID-19.
(Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)
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“I guess it’s nice to be mentioned in the same breath as Tom Hanks and Idris Elba — two of my favorite actors. I think I’m in some pretty good company.”

That’s what actor Daniel Dae Kim said Thursday in a video announcing that he was diagnosed the day before with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. He posted the 10-minute video, which describes his path to diagnosis step by step, on Instagram.

“I wanted to share my journey with you in the hopes that you find it informative or helpful. Hope you all stay safe, calm, and above all, healthy,” the 51-year-old wrote in the caption.


In the video, Kim laid it out: The “Hawaii Five-O” alum was filming a guest role on “New Amsterdam” in New York City, where coincidentally he was playing a doctor summoned to help amid a flu pandemic. When production shut down a week ago, he hopped a flight back home to Hawaii to be with his family.

“As the flight was close to landing, I started noticing some scratchiness in my throat, which is unlike how I usually get sick,” the actor said. He called his doctor, who told him to monitor his symptoms.

Kim self-isolated in a room at home. Later that night, he noticed a tightness in his chest. He had body aches and his temperature had started to rise.

Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Pink, Idris Elba, Daniel Dae Kim, Andy Cohen and more have gone public with coronavirus diagnoses. And the list is growing.

May 18, 2020

His doctor advised him to get tested, which he did at a drive-through testing operation that had just opened up in Honolulu. No celebrity treatment involved. He also noted that he never had to go to a hospital or into a doctor’s office for care.

The test, which involves getting a swab stuck up the nose and down into the throat, was “really awkward and a little painful,” but it was worth it, the actor said.


Kim started to feel better the day after he got the test done, and even better the day after that. Now he’s “not 100%,” but he’s getting closer.

Thankfully for him, he said, getting sick didn’t turn into a matter of life and death. One of his thank yous was a shoutout to caregivers, delivery drivers, grocery workers and the like, calling them the glue that’s keeping us all together.

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March 5, 2020

“Though I had no way of knowing and I was trying to be as careful as I could, I feel terrible thinking that I could have given this to anyone, let alone people I value enough to spend time with. And that includes the cast and crew of ‘New Amsterdam,’” Kim said, noting that the studio was taking the situation very seriously and making sure that those who were exposed are aware and getting proper care.

The Korean American actor had another observation as well.

“Yes, I’m Asian, and yes, I have coronavirus, but I did not get it from China,” he said, alluding to the president and others who are calling the disease the Chinese coronavirus. “I got it in America, in New York City. ... I don’t consider the place where it’s from as important as the people who are sick and dying.”

The name-calling, Kim said, gets us nowhere.