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Omaha native living in China shares his experience, hope for the future

Omaha WOWT logo Omaha WOWT 3/25/2020 Sharon Chen
a man standing in front of a flat screen television © Provided by Omaha WOWT

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- As the president calls on Americans to hunker down during the coronavirus outbreak, in China, the grip of the pandemic is finally loosening its hold.

The country is slowly returning back to life as they know it. Tonight, an Omaha man who lived and survived the China lockdown shares his experience with our Sharon Chen.

"It's very strange to go from it's very scary to be in China right now to China's the safest place to be right now, said Whaley.

Elijah Whaley is an Omaha native who now lives and works in Shanghai, China. The country where just two months ago was shut down in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

"It was over 30 days I did not leave my apartment,” said Whaley.

As new cases emerged daily, residents like Elijah self-quarantined.

“There was a lot of watching movies and drinking wine because there wasn't anything else to do,” said Whaley. "Office buildings I had to check into, you had to have your id and they had to take your temperature, you were only allowed to be there for a certain period of time."

Two months later china is on the mend. The lockdown finally lifted in Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak.

Back in shanghai life is slowly getting back to normal. As the u-s prepares for the impact of the virus – Elijah offers the lessons he's learned.

"I think this is a time to realize you have a social responsibility to other people to stay at home this isn't just about you not getting sick,” said Whaley.

And to remember – this too shall pass.

“This is going to be a period of time and it doesn't have to be a horrible period of time, can be depending on your perspective it can actually be a nice period of time,” said Whaley.

Elijah's parents live here in the Omaha metro - he's now focused on helping them navigate the virus as it spreads through the United States.

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