UPDATE: Olin alum works to return family from Wuhan in wake of coronavirus outbreak

  • January 28, 2020
  • By Kurt Greenbaum
  • 3 minute read

Samuel Roth’s wife and children landed around 6 a.m. today, February 6, 2020, in Riverside, CA, on the second evacuation flight to leave Wuhan, according to an update on the FlightAware website Roth posted on Facebook a day earlier.

UPDATE: March 2, 2020

The ordeal of the Roth family is over. After spending weeks in Wuhan, China, Olin alum Samuel Roth’s wife and two daughters are finally home. Originally, the threesome went overseas without Roth to visit grandparents.

When the coronavirus outbreak began, they were stuck in China for weeks until they could get space on a flight back to the United States. Roth reported on Fridaythat his wife and two daughters returned to Wisconsin on Sunday, February 23, during the night, after spending two weeks in quarantine upon their return to the states.

“Everyone is healthy, happy and relieved that it is over,” Roth said in an email to the Olin Blog. He forwarded a link to a profile piece done by a Milwaukee local station.

UPDATE: February 6, 2020.

Media reports say the flight was to land at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. “They landed at Travis (Air Force Base) this morning. I think they will be there quarantined for two weeks,” Roth confirmed in an email on Wednesday afternoon.

Original Story

A WashU Olin alumnus is working to bring home his wife and two children from Wuhan, China, where they arrived last week intending to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday with family—and instead, found themselves at the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Samuel M. Roth, MBA 2019, learned almost immediately upon their arrival in Wuhan that Daisy, his wife, and children Adalynn, 10 months, and Abagail, 5, had been told to hunker down in his in-law’s apartment and stay put. Roth’s in-laws live in Wuhan’s Xinzhou district in the northeastern part of the city.

He told CBS News they were told to avoid big gatherings. The network reported today that 106 people have died of the virus since the outbreak began and about 1,000 Americans are in the city of Wuhan.

“My family wasn’t able to get on the most recent chartered evacuation flight,” said Roth, an associate brand manager for Kimberly-Clark in Neenah, WI, in an email to Olin Blog. The US State Department has said priority for air transport from Wuhan would be given to those at greatest risk for contracting the virus.

We've got a 10-month-old, we've got a 5-year-old. They're susceptible, and they should be prioritized.  

Samuel Roth

“Initially I was trying to get ahold of the embassy and get them on the chartered flight. That ship has sailed, literally,” Roth told Olin Blog. “At this point, we’re hoping there will be subsequent rounds of evacuation. I’d like her out of there, but I’m not overwhelmed with anxiety. They’re staying at home and washing often.”

Roth’s congressman, US Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-WI, relayed a message from the US embassy in Beijing saying there wasn’t enough space to accommodate Americans wishing to depart by air. “The Department of State is working diligently with the government of China to identify alternative routes for U.S. citizens to depart Wuhan over land,” the embassy statement said, in part.

Roth has stayed in touch with his family throughout and said that for now, boredom may be the biggest issue his wife and kids have to confront.

“We are hopeful that there will be more opportunities for them to get out of Wuhan,” he said. “For now, they are just staying inside, keeping hands washed and trying to stave off boredom with books, movies, games and the like.”

The Roth Family Returns to Wisconsin

Spectrum News out of Milwaukee came to the Roth home to do a follow-up profile piece about the Roth family's return to Wisconsin.

About the Author

Kurt Greenbaum

Kurt Greenbaum

As communications director for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to find and share great stories about our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I've worked for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management as communications director and as a journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sun-Sentinel in South Florida and the Chicago Tribune.

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