Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple who built the company with Steve Jobs recently zoom-bombed a group call that was being held by Forbe’s Senior Contributor, John Cumbers. In the article explaining the story, John notes how he came to know Woz, meeting him at a biotech conference:
I first met Steve Wozniak when he keynoted SynBioBeta, the annual conference I organize on all things synthetic biology. Woz, as he is known, agreed to speak to a biotechnology audience about his own rich experience at the forefront of a different tech frontier.
Thanks to his past interactions, this week John had the chance to speak to Woz and his wife Janet over their problematic experience with COVID-19 earlier in January, as John explains:
In December 2019, Steve Wozniak and his wife Janet took a cruise through Southeast Asia. They returned to their home in California in early January with a troubling cough.
“We had the worst experience you can imagine,” Steve later said. Their illness began in the throat but quickly progressed into a severe lower respiratory infection with “convulsive” coughing. On January 13th, Janet was taken by ambulance to the hospital. “They did every test they could — everything they knew of — and they found nothing,” Steve said. At that time, there was no test for COVID-19 available in the US. Others on that same cruise ship returned home to Europe and later tested positive for COVID-19. Frustrated by their mysterious illness, the Wozniaks first spoke to Sanjay Gupta of CNN about their testing troubles.
After returning back to the United States, Woz tweeted saying that they “may have been patient zero” for bringing the virus into the United States days after the first wave of deaths occurred in the nation. Following, the couple met with doctors and were able to donate blood samples to labs working on a COVID-19 diagnostic:
They recognized that they were in a unique position: Given the timing and location of their travel, and their striking symptoms, they suspected they could have been among the first American’s sickened with COVID-19. Sharing their blood might help advance science, including research on antibodies.
During the Zoom call, the Woz’s were able to connect with multiple specialists, doctors, and also answer some questions on their experience with the lack of testing. As John notes:
“We’ve had all of the symptoms of the coronavirus, and we’ve never been so sick in our entire life,” Janet told me. Could they have been sickened by a primordial strain of the new coronavirus? Were tests giving false negatives? They wanted to push further.
Towards the end of the call they noted how the lack of testing in the United States has caused the number of COVID-19 cases to spike up, while also limiting the ability for healthcare officials to properly conduct their jobs.