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VIDEO: 'This Medication Really Works, So There's A Hope,' Says New Jersey Coronavirus Patient

James Cai, the first person diagnosed with COVID-19 in New Jersey, reports he's feeling on the mend. CBS2s Maurice DuBois reports.
James Cai, the first person diagnosed with COVID-19 in New Jersey, reports he's feeling on the mend. CBS2s Maurice DuBois reports. Video Credit: CBS New York

The New Jersey healthcare worker who was the state’s first coronavirus patient said clinical trial medicines probably saved his life.

"After I received the first dose my fever went down," 32-year-old James Cai, who lives and works in Fort Lee and Manhattan, told CBS New York.

"Those two medications I think slowed down my virus," Cai said without naming them.

Cai was initially hit with diarrhea, chest pains and a fever despite having no underlying medical conditions. He was admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center March 2, and remains there in isolation.

The physicians assistant got the clinical trial meds on March 11. After that, his symptoms started clearing up, he said. 

"My oxygen level is not dropping any more," Cai said in his television interview with CBS. "This medication really works, so there's a hope. Without this medication, I don't think I can be here today."

Cai did not specify what trial medications he was given.

James Cai, New Jersey's first coronavirus patient, is at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Courtesy of CBS

Cai told the New York Post that nobody knows when he’ll fully recover from the deadly bug — and he is struggling with weeks away from his wife and 20-month-old daughter, who are both in isolation.

“I am getting better but at what extent? Nobody knows,” Cai told The Post, adding that his frequent coughing has left him with rib pain.

Referring to his daughter, Cai said the toddler is “not herself when I am not around.”

"I am afraid to call her,” Cai told The Post. “I may cry.”

He believes he came down with the dangerous bug at a medical conference at the Westin in Times Square on the weekend of Feb. 28.

Cai said he’s not sure when he’ll finally be discharged from the hospital since he needs to test negative for the coronavirus twice to be cleared for release.

He's among the 178 presumptive positive cases in New Jersey as of Monday. A third person has died of COVID-19 in the Garden State. 

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