California man with coronavirus: It’s been easier than having a cold

His wife never showed signs of the virus, he said, even though they spent weeks quarantined together

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Carl Goldman and Jeri Seratti-Goldman (front) pose for a photo with two friends from St. George, Utah, Jerri and Mark Jorgensen, while on vacation in Southeast Asia in January. (Courtesy of Hometown Station)

A Santa Clarita man infected with coronavirus on a cruise ship in Japan remained ill and isolated at a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska as of Saturday, Feb. 29.

But he says his symptoms have been mild.

Carl Goldman spent weeks aboard the Diamond Princess, a cruise liner on which hundreds of people had contracted the virus. He came down with a fever during a flight back to the U.S. chartered by the State Department on Sunday, Feb. 16, and subsequently was diagnosed.

“It was a giant floating Petri dish,” he said of the ship.

However, his body temperature returned to normal about four days later, he wrote in a first-hand report for KHTS Radio, a station he owns along with his wife, Jeri Serrati-Goldman. Since then, he’s been bugged mostly by a persistent cough – and boredom.

He’s made a point to walk at least 10,000 steps each day, which equates to about 750 laps around the room where he is currently kept in isolation. He hasn’t had any direct contact with anyone but medical staff during his stay in Nebraska, but he’s received a steady stream of encouraging messages from old friends and Santa Clarita residents concerned about his condition.

“And, the food has been pretty good in the hospital,” he added.

Goldman was still isolated and under observation over the weekend, but had been moved out of the bio-containment wing and into a regular room on Wed., Feb. 26.

He still appears to harbor the virus, and will have to test negative for three consecutive screenings, each conducted 24 hours apart from one another, before officials can consider allowing him to return home, he said.But his spirits are high.

“It’s had less of an impact (on me) than the common cold,” he said Saturday, while waiting for lab results from swabs and blood work.

Goldman has been lucky.

The coronavirus has spread to at least 83,000 people around the world and as of Saturday afternoon killed more than 2,800 of those infected.

The first death in the U.S. was reported in the state of Washington on Saturday.

At least 22 people in the U.S. have contracted the illness, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a news conference

“The country as a whole, because we get asked that all the time, still remains at low risk,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters Saturday. “But when we say that, we want to underscore that this is a developing a situation.”

Carl Goldman, of Santa Clarita, stands on the upper deck of the Diamond Princess while wearing a mask and gloves after he and his wife, Jeri, were allowed outside for an hour on Saturday in Japan. (Courtesy of Carl Goldman)

Some who contract the virus may not exhibit risk factors, such as advanced age, diabetes, obesity and prior cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, Fauci said.

That expectation is in line with Goldman’s observations aboard the Diamond Princess. He saw the virus infect people of all different ages indiscriminately, he said. While some succumbed to the disease, others hardly showed symptoms at all.

Jeri Serrati-Goldman spent weeks in confinement with her husband, but never contracted coronavirus.

“There didn’t seem to be any common denominator,” he said.

Other Americans who were aboard the vessel but showed no signs of infection were nearing the end of a mandatory two-week quarantine period that began immediately following their arrival in the U.S. and should be released by next week, Goldman said. His wife was among them, and may be flying back to California as soon as Monday.

“She’s going to have to roll up her sleeves when she gets home and take care of business, while I continue here in my convalescence,” he said.

She’ll also finally get to see their golden retriever, Cadet and shephard/labrador/pitbull mix BeeBee for the first time since the couple left California over a month ago.

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