'Walking Dead' Actor Daniel Newman Wasn't Ready for Coronavirus

Tuesday March 24, 2020

For three seasons, actor Daniel Newman played the role of Daniel in the apocalyptic series "The Walking Dead." Over the weekend he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about how unexpectedly "a variant of the apocalypse would so soon be coming to my life off the screen."

In "Acting in 'The Walking Dead' Didn't Prepare Me for Coronavirus", the 38 year old actor writes how he "traveled to Australia to celebrate Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras along with Sam Smith, Dua Lipa, Kesha and thousands of other revelers from around the world. We marched in a Pride parade, participated in interviews with local TV stations and attended a week of concerts, parties and dinners in celebration of L.G.B.T.Q. Pride."

People Magazine reported that Newman came out as bisexual in 2017.

"I don't want to be hidden and have to dodge the question," he tells People of publicly revealing his sexuality. "I'm proud of who I am."

Towards the end of his Australian trip, he began to experience cold symptoms; then on the flight back, a nearby passenger had a consistent cough.

"I wasn't concerned initially," he told CNN. "I just had a cough. And then I started to have a little trouble breathing, and it just progressed. But it still felt like a cold or a flu. It didn't really hit me until I learned that one of the group tested positive."

"Three days later, my symptoms worsened," he wrote in the Times. "Going for walks with my dog would leave me out of breath. I coughed at night and had difficulty breathing when I tried to sleep."

He decided he needed to be tested.

After much searching Atlanta healthcare facilities, he found an emergency room that could conduct the test. After a phone screening, he was told it was "very important I come get tested immediately."

On March 14, Newman drove to the hospital where he got in line outside a tent near the ER. "People in front of me had their temperatures taken and were asked questions about their symptoms. Almost everyone was told, without having been tested, that they most likely had a cold or allergies, and to go home and self-quarantine," he recalls in his Times piece.

But a nurse recognized him from his television role. After taking his vitals, she determined he needed to be tested immediately and pulled strings to get him one. "Preferential treatment is disgusting," he told CNN about his treatment. "The fact that the health care system is turning everyone away. And then after I got tested and got this huge bill, they couldn't process the results."

Then, while waiting for the results, concludes, "Well, if I don't already have this virus, I'm probably catching it here."

Told that he wasn't sick enough to be admitted (he could breathe on his own), he was told to go home. Asking about his test results, he was told: "The government won't allow us to process your samples."

"(The doctor) told me they have a limited capacity for testing, so they are limited to only sending out samples for testing patients with severe symptoms, the elderly or patients that have recently traveled to China or Italy."

But they gave him a parting gift:

"As I checked out of the E.R., they told me I'd be responsible for the bill of $9,116, even though they never processed the coronavirus test."

"$9,000 later," he told CNN, "they were letting me know they need the ER beds and my symptoms are super mild and the government wasn't allowed to process the test, and so they let me and a lot of other elderly and young people go home to self-quarantine without processing the test."

He concludes with this:

"'The Walking Dead' is one scenario of the apocalypse: Society shuts down, stores are ransacked, and the power goes out. No one can go to work, no one can function. New groups form in isolation. The echoes of my acting work in today's world are eerie. We have to find a way to survive — and to be prepared for what's next."

Comments on Facebook