“I’m just frustrated and angry and upset,” said Amy Deng, 45, who is under self-quarantine with her daughter in their Santa Rosa, Calif., home amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak that’s sickened more than 75,000 globally and killed some 2,000 others.
The pair visited Guangzhou, China, over the Chinese New Year, around the same time the novel coronavirus began to ravage the city of Wuhan, considered to be the epicenter of the outbreak. Though Guangzhou is located some 600 miles south of Wuhan, and the two allegedly had no known “high-risk” exposures during their travels, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assessed Deng and her 8-year-old daughter Daisy’s risk as “medium.” They were forced into 14-day self-quarantine as a result.
For two weeks, Deng has closed her Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine practice. Daisy, a fourth-grader, cannot attend school; her parents, who are recently divorced, have taken to homeschooling her in the meantime. The 8-year-old has missed birthday parties and has kept up with friends via FaceTime.
Neither Deng nor Daisy has shown symptoms of the novel virus, which have been reported to include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Still, county health officials are supervising the pair as they continue to monitor themselves for signs of illness.
Though Deng understands why they are under quarantine — “I agree to be safe. You can never be too cautious,” she told The Mercury News — the mother said she and Daisy have been made to feel like outcasts; the CDC has recommended they “avoid public settings, limit public activities and ‘practice social distancing,’” the outlet reported.
“I used to think I was a strong woman, but at some point, I feel like I’m just fragile,” said Deng, noting the quarantine was the cherry on top of a not-so-perfect year. In addition to the divorce from her now ex-husband Charles Johnston in November, the family — who also lost their home, winery and cat in the 2017 Tubbs Fire — also lost a grandparent in October.
What’s more, Deng, who is originally from China but has been an American citizen since 2012, claims a neighbor called the police on them out of fears her daughter would spread the virus after seeing Daisy get into the car with her father, who is not required to self-monitor for the virus and does not have any quarantine restrictions, according to The Mercury News.
Johnston, speaking to the outlet, described the situation as “bizonkers.”
He did not go on the trip to China but spent some eight hours arranging for the two to get out of China. They flew through Seoul into San Francisco International Airport nearly two weeks ago.
In the U.S., there have been 15 confirmed cases of the novel virus, the first of which occurred in a Washington State man who has since been released from the hospital. Other cases have been confirmed in California, Wisconsin, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Illinois. No deaths have been reported in the U.S., and the large majority of cases still remain in China.