A woman wears a face mask as a precaution against COVID-19 on a subway train in Hong Kong. (AP Photo / Kin Cheung)
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HONG KONG — It’s been hard to be far away from home, watching a pandemic of panic over the new coronavirus ripple across the world.

A month ago I left Seattle for Hong Kong — a city of 7.3 million bordering mainland China and one of the planet’s most densely populated — as part of a Doctors Without Borders effort to rein in the widespread fear gripping the city as it began to wrestle with a virus the world knew little about.

That fear has now reached home.

As of March 4, there were some 95,000 cases worldwide, 152 in the United States — and 10 deaths in Seattle, my hometown, where city and King County officials have declared a state of emergency.

It has been reassuring to me that there are things we as individuals can do, and Hong Kong has shown me that we can live in an era of coronavirus.

Since being there, I have watched people go through a roller coaster of emotions as the COVID-19 outbreak unfolded. For many, it was a brutal flashback to the nightmare of the 2003 SARS outbreak, where hundreds died in the city.

Read the entire story at Seattle Times. Karin Huster, MPH '13, is a Department of Global Health alumna.