CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread around the world.
Just in the last week, nearly 700 cases were reported in South Korea alone. That country is home to several U.S. military bases, and for a Corpus Christi family living in the Korean epicenter for the virus, things are tense.
“If you go somewhere where there's a crowd, or even just one person who's infected with the virus, then you can become a carrier of the virus or get sick,” said Priscilla Boren.
Daegu, South Korea, is normally a bustling city of 2.5 million people, but Bowen said today it looks like a ghost town as coronavirus spreads.
“No one is out and about, and it's just become a standstill,” she said.
Boren, her husband, and their teenage son moved to Daegu last July. As they suddenly find themselves in the middle of an epidemic, Boren’s daughter, Janessa Cano, keeps tabs from here at home.
“We've actually been sending them care packages with masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and stuff like that, just to make sure we're helping them take as many precautions as they can,” Cano said.
Nearly 60 percent of Korea's 833 (as of Monday morning) confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported in Daegu.
“It is a hot-spot right now for the coronavirus,” Boren said.
Except for a recent quick trip outside to see the blooming cherry blossoms, Boren said she's stayed inside since the epidemic hit Daegu last week.
“I've kind of put myself in a self-isolation, keeping myself at home as much as possible,” she said.
Boren said she's thought about leaving Korea, but won't, out of fears of what she could possibly bring back to the U.S. with her.
“Even if I wanted to go home right now, to Texas, I wouldn't,” she said. “What if I'm a carrier? I don't want to get my family sick.”
Also, leaving Korea would mean leaving her husband, a civilian employee with the U.S. Army, behind.
“My husband still has to go to work, he's considered mission-essential,” said Boren. “I feel like I'm mission-essential to him.”