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UCSB students with family in China share their feelings about the new coronavirus

Tracy Lehr / KEYT

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- When news of the new coronavirus spread, University of California Santa Barbara students with family in China checked in with their parents.

Some students said their parents are taking precautions even though they are not in Wuhan or the Hubei Province where there have been more than 200 deaths.

Students said their families cancelled Lunar New Year plans last week and are staying indoors.

UCSB Freshman Joe Z said, "It is basically a Thanksgiving in China where people will go all the way to their hometown and have a family grouping together, and this time because of the coronavirus apparently they cancelled all of the meetings."

UCSB Sophomore Camilla said she hopes they hold reunions at a later date.

Her mother is a doctor and she said some families are arguing about the severity of the virus.

"I've heard about my friends, they force their parents to wear masks everyday, but their parents don't think it is a big deal, so it causes many family quarrels."

On Thursday, The U.S. State Department issued a "do not travel" warning to China as concerns grow over the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision came after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.

As of Thursday night, nearly 10,000 people have been sickened by the novel coronavirus and 213 have died from it. No deaths have been reported outside of China.

There are now more than 100 cases in 18 countries due to travel and the first person-to-person case in the United States is a man in his 60s who is now in isolation in Chicago.

Some UCSB students are voluntarily wearing masks on campus, but there have been no reported cases of coronavirus in the Santa Barbara County.

"When I saw them I was actually kind of scared because I thought they had the virus themselves," said Joe.

The Santa Barbara County Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said he thinks masks give people a false sense of security.

Dr. Ansorg said there are no local cases, but he recommends washing your hands often.

Joe and Camilla both think that is a good idea.

Article Topic Follows: Health

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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