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Coronavirus 'like having the plague', says Kiwi racing figure

A prominent harness racing figure, who was one of the first New Zealanders to test positive for coronavirus, is thankful he's been cleared, as one of his friends fights for his life in the USA.

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John Curtin was one of the first New Zealanders to test positive for Covid-19. Source: 1 NEWS

International bloodstock agent John Curtin is currently self-isolating in his South Auckland office, able to trace his illness back to a dinner in New York at the start of the month.

He became known as "patient six," one of the first Kiwis diagnosed with Covid-19.

The 68-year-old returned home to New Zealand at the same time as John Brennan, another prominent racing figure died from coronavirus back in the USA.

Curtin and friends of Brennan were present at that dinner.

"If it wasn't for John Brennan dying, I probably wouldn't have even got tested," Curtin told 1 NEWS.

While he was sick for just 24 hours, Curtin's exposure to coronavirus was a frightening time.

"Initially when I got tested, it was like we were having the plague.

"Everyone that had been near me for four or five days thought they were all going to die."

Those near Curtin were all tested, all coming back clear, bar Joe Faraldo a racing power broker in New York, and now fighting for his life.