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Coronavirus: Westerville man who was stuck in Wuhan says Ohio situation is deja vu - News - The Columbus Dispatch


A central Ohio man is now home after escaping Wuhan, China, the city where the coronavirus outbreak started. He said that local preparations remind him of what took place in Wuhan.

The precautions being taken to protect against the coronavirus in Ohio feel eerily familiar to John McGory.

McGory, 65, of Westerville, recently returned to central Ohio from Wuhan, China, where the virus is thought to have started.

McGory said he isn’t surprised by the measures being taken to prevent the spread of the virus in the U.S. because he’s seen many of them before.

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“It’s bizarre to come here and find it happening again in my life,” McGory said. “It’s really giving me a sense of deja vu.”

McGory worked at Jianghan University in Wuhan, which canceled classes for its spring term after the virus broke out. Ohio State University is moving classes online temporarily and following a recommendation from Gov. Mike DeWine, colleges across the state are doing the same.

McGory said it he thinks it likely won’t be long before most events are canceled and several businesses are closed temporarily. DeWine on Tuesday urged event organizers and sports teams to continue their events but to prohibit most spectators.

“Bit by bit, more people get sick and more places close down,” McGory said. “It just starts to take over.”

The fear and rumors that followed the virus throughout Wuhan also seem to be moving through the Columbus area, McGory said. He’s noticed empty restaurants and fewer people out in public, just like he did in Wuhan.

McGory’s trip back from China was a long one. He had retired from his teaching job and planned to return home to Ohio just as the virus hit.

After being stuck in Wuhan for a few weeks, he escaped on U.S. State Department rescue plane and was quarantined for two weeks on a Marine base in California before he could return home.

“I don’t want to be the doom and gloom guy, but it’s going to have an impact,” McGory said. “It already has.”

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For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, the state coronavirus call center can be reached by dialing 1-833-427-5634.

mfilby@dispatch.com

@MaxFilby

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