Utah man with Coronavirus begs government for help and information

Feb 20, 2020, 6:45 PM | Updated: Mar 12, 2020, 9:21 am
utah coronavirus...
(John Haering and his wife, Melanie, posing for a picture in Hong Kong. Credit: Haering family)
(John Haering and his wife, Melanie, posing for a picture in Hong Kong. Credit: Haering family)

CHIBA, JAPAN – A Tooele, Utah man infected with the Coronavirus is pleading with the U.S. government to give him more information.  He believes he is being kept in the dark about when he may ever come home.

Physically, John Haering feels fine.  He says he doesn’t feel his symptoms anymore, and he even joked about wanting to go for a run.  However, he has had very limited human interaction since he was admitted to a Japanese hospital.  He has access to the internet, but the only face-to-face contact he gets happens when someone comes into his room to clean it.  Once, he was given a chance to roam into one of the halls, but all of the other doors were locked with keypads preventing him from leaving.

He tells KSL’s Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry, “I’m basically, I don’t want to say a ‘prisoner’ but, I am.  I’m not free.  My freedom to leave has been taken away.”

Haering doesn’t want to expose anyone else to the virus, but, he hasn’t been told what needs to happen before he can be discharged.  He has been growing more and more frustrated with the U.S. Embassy.  The tipping point came when Haering heard other patients got information from the embassy that he never received.

“I thought, if something happened to me, or if someone needed to be contacted, as far as I know the U.S. Embassy is not there to help me in my situation,” says Haering.

That sparked Haering to write a letter that has harsh words for the embassy and the Carnival Corporation.  He says he only received one call from the embassy and none from the cruise line, whatsoever.  He asks several things in his letter, like, “Is their any other plans on removing the remaining Americans to the United States that are in hospitals who have tested positive? If what is the timeline? Why have I not heard from Carnival corporation ever since leaving the ship?”

Congressman Chris Stewart has had limited contact with Haering’s family, but he agrees the embassy should be doing a lot more than they currently are.

Stewart says, “Is the embassy being responsive to the family?  We don’t think they are and they’ve got to do better.  The embassy can’t change the situation, but the embassy can communicate better with them.”

Stewart’s office has assigned a case worker to see how communication could be improved.  Plus, there’s one more thing they’re looking into.

“Is there a chance we can bring him home?  [We’d] be careful, obviously, that we don’t want to expose others, but also recognizing that the U.S. has the ability to provide care that may not be quite as adequate overseas,” Stewart says.

Haering’s wife, Melanie, says they’re currently stuck in a waiting game.  His last two swabs tested positive for the virus.

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Utah man with Coronavirus begs government for help and information