‘Patient zero’ in Tennessee talks about fear, anxiety, hysteria and countless acts of kindness as the Biogen outbreak spreads
Chris Baumgartner updated his LinkedIn page in February to reflect his new job as vice president/East for Biogen, which followed a stint at Sage Therapeutics. Then, at the end of February, his new company held a strategy meeting at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf, and Baumgartner’s life was turned upside down — changed forever.
In a lengthy Facebook post that has drawn widespread attention, Baumgartner explains what it’s like to be Tennessee’s patient zero — the first person to test positive for Covid-19 in a state that now has 52 confirmed cases.
For those of you who don’t know, I was patient zero in Tennessee. That’s right, I’m the 44 year-old dad in Williamson County, who has a son at BGA, works at Biogen, and has 2 family “contacts” living in my household… who really needs HIPAA anyway, right?
Biogen declines to name any of the individuals who attended the conference, or explain how many staffers have tested positive. Massachusetts health officials say they tracked more than 100 tentatively confirmed cases for employees and close contacts. Then last night they switched the math to staff and family, which tallies up to 100, the bulk of the cases.
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