When the coronavirus epidemic exploded, Carl and Jeri Goldman were aboard the Diamond Princess—which would become a notorious virus location. A planned 16-day South Asian cruise for the California couple turned into a nightmare, they tell CNN, and one that has persisted long after they got home. KQED reports Carl purchased the cruise as a Christmas gift for Jeri, and all went smoothly until the final day when it emerged that a passenger had tested positive. After being quarantined in their cabin they exited the ship in Japan to fly back to the States. Carl came down with a fever on the plane. He was taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center and tested positive for coronavirus. Jeri stayed virus-free, but Carl remained in the hospital for weeks, finally recovering and heading home to the Santa Clarita Valley on March 16. But death threats followed him.
"We kept getting threats on social media and YouTube directed at my wife," says Carl, who's been blogging about the ordeal. "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." The local sheriff sent patrols past their house more frequently, and Jeri says she can't get appointments with her nail salon and trainer. Their house sitter was apparently fired from his day job after his employer learned he'd had contact with Jeri. But the Goldmans, who own a local radio station, know the source of it all: "It's not coming from hatred, it's coming from a place of fear," Carl said. "We are making a conscious effort not to let it affect us. It is what it is." (Read more coronavirus stories.)