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Dr. Hopland still confined to college dormitory room

John Thompson • Updated Feb 24, 2020 at 9:54 PM

ELIZABETHTON — After finally making the move off the Diamond Princess cruise ship last weekend, life is returning to the doldrums of a long quarantine for Dr. Arnold Hopland due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Hopland is now being housed with other quarantined passengers from the ship in a cramped dormitory room of the National Tax College in Waco, Japan, several miles northeast of Tokyo. Hopland, a physician from Elizabethton, was on a cruise with his wife, Jeanie, in the Far East when the ship was placed under quarantine on Feb. 5.

After his wife tested positive for the coronavirus, the couple was separated and Mrs. Hopland was taken to a hospital in Tokyo. She has remained there after testing positive once again for the virus. Neither Dr. nor Mrs. Hopland have been sick with the disease.

While life in quarantine is usually very dull, Hopland’s experience has had some drama. Since he is a medical doctor who has been interested in epidemics in the past, he has been interviewed by several local, regional and national news organizations about his personal experience and the quarantine in general.

Hopland has been a strong critic of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying they have not done enough during the crisis. He has also spoken out against the U.S. Embassy in Japan, blaming both the embassy and the CDC with timid bureaucratic responses and burying their heads in the sand.

For a short while, Hopland wondered if the moving of people off the Diamond Princess might be a sign of more determined leadership, but he said he has since learned that move was led by the Japanese government.

Through it all, Hopland said he has seen a silver lining. He said for many years he has worried about the next pandemic like the 1918-19 flu. He said there could be a large percentage of the world’s population killed by such a pandemic. Hopland said the coronavirus can serve as a wake up call if people don’t hit the snooze button.

Hopland said the coronavirus can show as a highly contagious virus that is not very virulent. But he said there could come a day when there is such a virus on the world stage that is as contagious as the coronavirus but highly virulent. Hopland said such a virus would have the potential to kill a large percentage of the world’s population.

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