When 67-year-old Carl Goldman boarded the Diamond Princess cruise ship with his wife back in January, he had no idea he would spend the months that followed in quarantine, recovering from a deadly respiratory illness amid a pandemic that has sickened hundreds of thousands around the globe.
After a passenger who had already left the ship was diagnosed with COVID-19, the Santa Clarita man and his wife, Jeri Seratti-Goldman, spent two weeks confined to their cabin as the ship was docked in Japan, awaiting coronavirus testing and U.S. charter flights back home.
The couple was later evacuated back to the U.S. where Carl Goldman tested positive for COVID-19. He was isolated in a biocontainment center in Omaha and treated by doctors and nurses in hazmat suits.
On Saturday, day 53 of quarantine, Goldman said he has finally recovered and is back home in Santa Clarita.
But the road to recovery was tough.
“I couldn’t shake the virus,” Goldman said, describing weeks with a fever and a dry cough.
"They kept testing me and I was still positive for 29 days," he said.
His wife tested negative for the virus and returned to Santa Clarita, where the couple owns the radio station KHTS, weeks before he did.
“While we were still on the Diamond Princess, we were getting death threats. People did not want us returning from Japan,” Goldman said.
He said that though his wife never tested positive for the virus, some people in Santa Clarita didn’t want her entering their businesses and didn’t want to be around her.
But by the time Goldman came home, everyone was under stay-at-home orders and things were different.
“We’ve obviously gone through many shifts in attitude since all this started way back when we left for Japan on January 17,” he said.
Having lived through the illness, Goldman told fellow Californians who start experiencing symptoms to monitor their temperature and said to remember that most people survive. His advice: “Don’t freak out.”