- A California couple say they continue to receive threats weeks after disembarking the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship in February.
- Carl Goldman, 67, was one of the 712 people on the Diamond Princess who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
- His wife, Jeri, who accompanied him on the cruise never contracted the virus.
- Yet weeks later, they tell CNN that they’re still being ostracized and threatened by people who believe they’re infected.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Weeks after being repatriated, quarantined, and eventually deemed virus-free, a California couple say they’re still receiving death threats after their journey on the Diamond Princess in February.
More than 700 people on the ill-fated cruise ship tested positive for the coronavirus, including Carl, who shared his experience last month with Insider’s Haven Orecchio-Egresitz.
Goldman told CNN on April 8 that even while the couple was still on the ship, they began to receive threats. And despite both of them being free of the virus now, they still continue to get threats from those worried they could themselves contract the novel virus.
“People started posting that we shouldn’t be allowed to come back to the US, or if we did, we should be locked up in cages,” Goldman told CNN. “We kept getting threats on social media and YouTube directed at my wife. There were vile descriptions of me dying from drowning in my own fluids. People we had never met posted on our radio station’s Facebook.”
As Insider previously reported, Goldman spent about a month in quarantine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s National Quarantine Unit. While he said only experience mild symptoms, he wouldn’t be discharged until he tested negative for the virus. He was eventually cleared and went home on March 16, according to CNN.
“After 48 hours, I would have been back at work if I wasn’t contagious,” Goldman, 67, told Insider last month.
The Goldman’s are from Santa Clarita, California, and were well-known in their community because they owned a local radio station. But according to Goldman, his wife Jeri was ostracized when she went home, even after testing negative.
Jeri never tested positive for COVID-19, and went home to Santa Clarita, California, on March 2.
“We started getting some horrible, horrible threats. This was still when we were back in Japan. They didn’t realize that we were going to be contained,” he told Insider last month.
Then, when he went public about his diagnosis on his blog, he said he received death threats. He said he’s used to critics and an occasional mild threat due to his job, but never experienced any threats like what’s receiving after revealing his diagnosis.
“We started getting some horrible, horrible threats. This was still when we were back in Japan. They didn’t realize that we were going to be contained,” he told Insider.
Goldman said it felt like they were ‘on a leper colony’
He said even though Jeri tested negative, she was forced to self-quarantine, shunned by local businesses, and even told to not go to her gym for a month.
“It was like she had been on a leper colony. People didn’t want to be around her. They still don’t want her in their businesses,” he said. “She now goes into work and goes home, does not go to any business, not even a grocery store.”
But weeks later, the threats have not stopped and had even gotten worse, Goldman told CNN. He said the threats even got so bad the local sheriff set up patrol cars near the couple’s home.
Their dog walker and house-sitter quit on them and returned the keys to Jeri, Goldman said, and friends even refused to see her. Businesses she frequents for decades denied her service, despite being negative for the virus.
“I think people are still so afraid and are living in fear. There is still so little information about the virus and so much misinformation,” Goldman told CNN.
He said told CNN that despite being reassured by his doctor that he’s not contagious and likely has some immunity to the virus, telling people that would do very little to change their minds.
Their experience isn’t far off from the stigma other recovered coronavirus patients across the world are facing.
One South Korea man, Park Hyun, had recovered from the coronavirus and tested negative for the virus twice. Despite that his coworkers still refused to be in the same elevator as him or eat at the same table, Reuters reported March 31.
“I do understand the concerns and anxiety of my colleagues and neighbors, so I only use the stairs in this university building, and even to my apartment on the ninth floor,” Hyun told Reuters.
Additionally, while Hyuan was hospitalized for complications, his mother heard a neighbor scream: “We’re all going to die because of a son in this family,” according to Reuters.