COVID-19 separates married couple; husband being treated in Japan

A woman on the evacuation flight to Travis Air Force Base from the cruise ship in Japan stricken with the disease- COVID-19, had to leave her husband behind Sunday night. 

Other couples managed to leave together. 

Now, adult children of the evacuees are sharing what their parents' ordeal has been like. 

Tung Pi Lee and his wife, Angela, live in Potomac, Maryland. Angela is now at Travis, while her husband is still in Japan. Their daughter, JoAnn, says this is a trying time not just for the couple, but for their entire family.

It's been less than 24 hours since that flight carrying evacuees arrived at Travis Air Force base. JoAnn says her mom shows no signs of fever and is grateful to be back in the U.S.

"And it also sounds like the U.S. authorities are being very careful with the distance they are supposed to keep from each other and the full body suits, just sounds like the U.S. officials are much more equipped to handle the situation," said JoAnn Lee.

Lee's parents were separated on the cruise ship. Her father, Tung Pi Lee fell ill with the virus and is being treated in Japan.

"My father is struggling. We were told it was a mild case but regardless it still seems to be a very difficult painful experience, especially with the fevers.  The fevers when they hit are quite painful," said Lee.

Other couples, like Gay and Phil Courter have been able to return together. During the 12-hour flight aboard the plane, their son says health officials remained vigilant, checking his parents and others often.

"They were taking peoples temperature at the beginning of the flight, throughout the flight and at the end of the flight.  If anyone's temperature increased that person would be moved to the infected section," said Blake Courter.

Matthew Smith is an American who chose to stay behind on the ship, tweeting  photos of quarantine meals and saying, "Decision not to be evacuated, best decision ever," after learning sick Americans were being allowed to fly out.

But while some families members are separated, and others are still sick overseas, in one way the ordeal is bringing some people closer together.

"I can tell you I haven't spoken to my brother and sister this much in quite awhile so we've been in very close contact. It has certainly been a very trying situation," said Lee.

We asked JoAnn, if her mother is given the all clear to leave Travis in 14 days, what she would do since her husband is still sick in Japan. She said her mother wants to return to Japan to bring her husband home, but she acknowledged, that's not a likely scenario, at least anytime soon.  

For those affected by the outbreak of the virus, it has left many of their lives uncertain.