More than 100 Americans who were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship have finally gone home. 2 shared photos and details from their quarantine on a military base.
Fehrenbacher and Christoph on the porches of their quarantine apartments at Travis Air Force Base.
- About 140 Americans evacuated from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship finished their US quarantine on Monday and headed home.
- Two students shared photos from their experience of being quarantined at a military base in California.
- During the quarantine, they played soccer, scoured laundry rooms for hand sanitizer, and got their final coronavirus test results.
- One of them described the experience as "somewhere between a zombie movie and summer camp."
- For the latest case total, death toll, and travel information, see Business Insider's live updates here.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
More than 100 Americans who were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship finished nearly a month of quarantine on Monday.
The ship hosted one of the largest outbreaks of the new coronavirus outside China. More than 700 people who were onboard have tested positive. Passengers were kept in their rooms on the ship for two weeks, then about 320 Americans evacuated by the US government had to complete another 14 days of isolation at military bases.
Two American graduate students, Spencer Fehrenbacher and Gordon Christoph, shared their experience and their photos from quarantine on California's Travis Air Force Base. They were released on Monday.
"I can't lie, it's great," Christoph told Business Insider while he was still on the base. "In both quarantines they took care of us, they gave us good food. The weather's been pretty good."
Fehrenbacher said the quarantine on Travis Air Force Base was completely different from his experience on the cruise ship.
"It's night and day," he told Business Insider. "If anything this experience here, being properly quarantined by medical experts, has kind of highlighted the flaws of the quarantine that we were on on the Diamond Princess."
Here's what their quarantine at a US military base was like.
Many evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship finished their second quarantine, at the Travis Air Force Base in California, on Monday.
Christoph and Fehrenbacher, both graduate students who were quarantined together in their cabin on the cruise ship, said they much preferred their time at Travis Air Force Base.
The US government evacuated 328 Americans from the Diamond Princess on two cargo planes on February 16.
The evacuated passengers arrived at Travis Air Force Base, where they would spend another 14 days under quarantine. The other plane went to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
"I expected things to be very cut and dry, very cold," Fehrenbacher said of his time on the military base. "I expected the staff to be a step below drill sergeants."
Christoph and Fehrenbacher shared a small cabin on board the Diamond Princess, so they were happy to have their own apartments at Travis Air Force Base.
"The apartments here are huge. Everyone's got their own space," Christoph said. "It's very comfortable."
Upon arrival, Fehrenbacher requested sanitizing wipes and coffee. He said that volunteers brought the items to him shortly after.
The morning that everyone got their final COVID-19 test results, Fehrenbacher said, CDC workers went apartment to apartment with a 50-gallon trash can, stacks of gowns and gloves, a big bottle of hand sanitizer, and manila envelopes.
They told Fehrenbacher his coronavirus test had come back negative. "I sat down on the ottoman behind me and I just felt an overwhelming feeling of wanting to burst into tears," he said.
After that, everyone who tested negative was allowed to go outside and walk the lawns of the quarantine area as much as they wanted.
Christoph said he and a few other evacuees would kick a soccer ball around every afternoon, starting around 3:45 p.m.
"[It's] somewhere between a zombie movie and summer camp," Fehrenbacher said. "I don't know if this is awesome or if this is terrifying."
"The meals here are fantastic. A lot of mama's-cooking type of food," Fehrenbacher said.
The one downside: The military-base quarantine was alcohol-free.
Fehrenbacher said authorities did not test the former cruise passengers for the coronavirus again before they left. Their last test results had come 12 days prior.
A few people — less than 10 — from the Diamond Princess ship did not leave Travis Air Force Base on Monday with the rest of the group. The CDC did not explain why, but Fehrenbacher thinks they had to start their quarantines over.
"I'm kind of in a limbo stage right now, where I can't go back to China for the foreseeable future, and beyond that I have to find a place to stay," Christoph said.
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