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'Nobody knew it was going to be like this:' Neenah family in quarantine after coronavirus outbreak

Posted at 7:05 PM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 20:17:03-05

A family from Neenah, Wisconsin is about halfway through their quarantine for the coronavirus after returning from Wuhan, China. Now the mother is speaking about their experience for the first time.

Daisy Roth held back tears, thankful to be on U.S. soil with her two kids, 10-month-old Adalynn and five-year-old Abigail.

They remain in quarantine at a hotel on the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, after evacuating Wuhan last week.


"You can go anywhere in the hotel and they just put a fence around the hotel, so it's okay to go outside to take a walk,” Daisy said.

It's a much different situation than what they experienced on the other side of the globe.

"Nobody knew it was going to be like this, that's for sure,” Daisy said about the virus.

The Roths flew to Wuhan on Jan. 19 to celebrate Lunar New Year with family. They knew about the coronavirus, but at the time there were only a few dozen suspected cases.

Days after they arrived, the city went on lockdown.

"That's the time when we were like, ‘oh, it's getting really serious,’” Daisy said. “My biggest fear is like if my youngest one got sick, I wouldn't know where to go.”

Daisy and her dad made two trips to the grocery store. Other than that, they stayed inside for more than 10 days straight trying to keep the kids busy and healthy.

“My older daughter, Abigail, she got a little bit stir-crazy. She’s just like screaming one day, I want to go out,” Daisy said.

Eventually, Abigail understood why.

“Because of the virus,” Abigail said.

Daisy’s husband and the kids' father, Sam, did all he could from Neenah to help get them home, reaching out to the State Department and local lawmakers.

Daisy started to have her doubts until she got an e-mail confirming their spots on the second flight out of Wuhan, only to learn her flight was delayed another day.

“We just don't know what's going on and there's nowhere to get information,” Daisy said.

It was an exhausting trip of driving through security checkpoints and getting multiple temperature checks at the airport.

They spent more than 17 hours at the airport before finally taking off.

"It's a cargo flight, you know it's not really for passengers,” Daisy said.

She said the last three rows of the plane were surrounded by plastic to isolate a family with high fevers.

When they landed, they were welcomed home.

"You just feel kind of like a welcome, warm feeling which is really nice,” Daisy said.

Daisy said the family that was separated on the plane is okay, along with everyone else on her flight finishing out their quarantine.

"We're really thankful for that,” Daisy said.

As long as all continues to go well, they'll be back with Sam in Neenah next week.

"I know he is very excited and we're excited to see him,” Daisy said.

Daisy said right now their quarantine is supposed to end on Feb. 18. She's waiting to book their flight until they get the official go-ahead.

In Wisconsin, more tests have come back negative for the coronavirus. An additional person is also being tested for the virus, bringing the total to 15. 13 tests have come back negative, one positive and one is still pending.

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