The actor, who is now in Hawaii and was there when he obtained his test, was in New York the past few weeks, shooting on the NBC series “New Amsterdam.”
“I wanted to let you know that yesterday I tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus,” he said. He noted that “ironically” he had been playing a doctor who “gets recruited to help patients during a flu pandemic.” He acknowledged that when news of the real-life pandemic broke, the show shut down production, and he returned to his family in Hawaii.
“It’s important for you guys to know that I was asymptomatic during all of this time,” he said, although when the flight was landing he noticed “scratchiness” in his throat. “To be safe, when I got home I quarantined myself in a room in the house and tried to rest on my own,” he said.
It was then that his symptoms got worse, including tightness in his chest, body aches and a fever. Kim shares he went to a “drive-through testing facility that had just opened in Honolulu,” and the test was painful — “They shove a huge swab into your nose and into your throat,” he said — but worth it.
In addition to apologizing to the cast and crew members he may have unknowingly exposed to the virus and expressing his gratitude towards the healthcare workers trying to stop the spread of this pandemic, he also used his platform to stress the importance of health and safety precautions. NBC sent a memo to the “New Amsterdam” cast and crew after the network learned Kim had tested positive, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“For all those out there, especially teenagers and millennials who think this is not serious, please know that it is,” he said in his 10-minute video. “And if you treat this without care, you are potentially endangering the lives of millions of people, including your loved ones. So for the sake of everyone else, please follow the guidelines: socially distance, self-isolate, stop touching your face, and of course, wash your hands.”
He also went on to speak out against the discrimination and violence that people of Asian descent have been facing amid the outbreak.
“And one last very important thing: Please, please stop the prejudice and senseless violence against Asian people,” said Kim. “Randomly beating elderly, sometimes homeless Asian Americans is cowardly, heartbreaking and inexcusable. Yes, I’m Asian, and yes I have coronavirus, but I did not get it from China. I got it in America. In New York City. And despite what some political leaders want to call it, I don’t consider the place where it’s from as important as the people who are sick and dying. If I did, I would call this thing the New York virus, but that would be silly. The point is, the name-calling gets us nowhere. What matters is how best to take care of ourselves and one another.”
Kim is the latest celebrity to go public with a diagnosis, following the likes of Kevin Durant, Tom Hanks and “Game of Thrones” actor Kristofer Hivju. He said that he debated going public with the diagnosis, due to the backlash others have received for doing so — citing cries of “special treatment” as part of that discussion.
“Let me just say that I never asked for or expected special treatment from anyone,” he said. “And let me just add that I believe that healthcare for all is a right, not a privilege. And not just healthcare, but quality healthcare. Everyone who meets the qualifications to be tested should be. Because the virus doesn’t care about race or gender, religion, sexual orientation, whether you’re rich or poor, or your immigration status. Only we seem to care about that.”