Local man with family at epicenter of coronavirus shares their story


SPOKANE, Wash. — The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global health emergency on Thursday, raising concern on a local level.

4 News Now spoke with one man whose family is at the epicenter of the heart wrenching nightmare.

The man, who did not want to be identified, says his father just died from an unconfirmed case, and his mother is still living at the heart of the outbreak.

His parents described to him thousands of people flooding Wuhan hospitals with waits of up to 6 hours to see a doctor.

They made it to a clinic just before the city shut down all transportation, leaving them no choice but to walk an hour and a half back home with his mother still suffering from pneumonia.

With a population the size of London, the man believes this is the first time in history his hometown of Wuhan, China, has ever experienced a lockdown.

His fear of the virus and for his family is growing, but it’s also his fear of retribution from the Chinese government that kept him from going on camera.

“The tendency on the part of China is to suppress any local voices,” said Father Michael Connolly, an associate professor of political science at Gonzaga University.

“One of the myths of the Chinese government system is that we have plenty of the supplies that are

necessary, but somehow people can’t get hazmat outfits- many of them can’t get the masks at this particular time,” said Connolly.

While the Chinese government has said they’d build new hospitals just to address the outbreak, even sending their government officials to Wuhan in person, the coronavirus could be the shakeup that brings changes.

“So it might bring a little more pressure on them to be more honest and open and reach for help from international sources,” said Connolly.

Until transportation resumes in Wuhan, the Spokane man who shared his story says he’s helpless, hurting and waiting for updates like the rest of the world.