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Dr. Hopland invited to discuss coronavirus and quarantine with Royal Society of Medicine

John Thompson • Feb 26, 2020 at 9:36 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Wednesday was literally a “red letter day” for Elizabethton physician Dr. Arnold Hopland.

For the first time since he was first quarantined on Feb. 4 aboard the Diamond Princess, Hopland received a formal letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The letters I got from the CDC were addressed to ‘passenger of the Diamond Princess’ or something like that. It was like getting a letter addressed to ‘postal patron.’ Despite the more personal contact, Hopland remains very critical of the CDC’s efforts in controlling the coronavirus epidemic.

He is particularly critical of a recent telephone service intended to provide answers to questions from worried citizens.

Instead of staffing the telephone bank with knowledgable people, he said the people hired to man the system were so unknowledgeable that after every question he asked, they had to pause and get an answer from a higher-up person. Not only that, they also mispronounced many of the words.

One bit of good news he said he has received from the CDC was an email which said he might be able to get out of quarantine by March 8. Since the email appears to be from a different office than the one where he learned his quarantine might last until mid-April, Hopland is not planning on an early departure from his current holding area, which is a dormitory room at the National Tax College in Weko, near Tokyo.

Hopland remains separated from his wife, who continues to test positive for the coronavirus but is not feeling sick. She is being treated in a Tokyo hospital.

Hopland said he did get one piece of correspondence that really brightened his day. He has received a letter from the Royal Society of Medicine inviting him to come to London to discuss his experience with the quarantine and coronavirus.

Hopland said he was excited to tell the story about the dangers of the outbreak and the incompetence of some of the bureaucrats trying to deal with the health emergency.