CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — There are 15 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, none in New York State, but NewsChannel 9 has been meeting Central New Yorkers who are surrounded by the virus.
A Jamesville native who moved to Asia and teaches students in Vietnam is one former CNYer that is dealing with the virus.
Alan Salsgiver took his Le Moyne education masters to Asia and teaches English and science to fifth graders.
This week, Salsgiver is the only one using his classroom.
“Class is empty,” said Salsgiver. “There’s nobody here. Students have been gone for four weeks now.”
After two weeks off for the Chinese New Year, students were expected back on February 3. Then, the national government ordered schools to stay closed for two more weeks.
“There’s nobody else around, in the school, we have someone, but no students here today,” Salsgiver said.
Bien Hoa is a city of one million people and is forty minutes away from Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam has 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19, but not far away – the same distance from New York to Florida – Mainland China has more than 60,000.
“There’s been fewer people out and about, fewer people at restaurants, some people are afraid,” Salsgiver said. “Some people are wearing masks everywhere, like in the elevator.”
He classified the feeling as paranoid, which is better than the panic he witnessed two weeks ago.
“I talk to my mother almost every day and I tell her that I’m okay here,” Salsgiver told NewsChannel 9. “In Bien Hoa, everything’s alright.”
Salsgiver said that most of Asia already feels bullied by the Chinese government and this scare might make the region less friendly toward any visitors from China.
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For more local news, follow Andrew Donovan on Twitter @AndrewDonovan