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Coronavirus to separate Wisconsin couple for months

Posted at 10:26 PM, Feb 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-29 23:26:21-05

MILWAUKEE-- A local pharmacist will remain separated from his wife for months, as she remains quarantined in China since the coronavirus outbreak.

Kevin Xing's wife returned home to China to visit family for the new year in early January, days before the U.S. banned entry to anyone who recently traveled to China and wasn't an American citizen. There were exceptions for family members of permanent residents, however Xing is living in Wisconsin under a work visa.

Now Xing's wife is under quarantine with her family who live in Sichuan, a province west of the epidemic's epicenter. Xing says that her visa has since expired, making her unable to reapply until April or May.

"We're making contribution, maybe taking a personal sacrifice, but we're maybe taking it as contribution for every single human being on earth right now," said Kevin Xing.

Xing is a clinical pharmacist at Hayat Pharmacy in Milwaukee, so he understands China's response to the coronavirus, and the need to prepare for it here in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee's health commissioner said that four people who traveled from China are under voluntary home quarantine in Milwaukee as a precaution.

White House officials are telling people not to panic—a sentiment that Hayat pharmacists echo.

"I'm just concerned people are going to start panicking, and they will start stocking up on medications at home, which can create supply issue," said Hayat pharmacist Dr. Hashim Zaibak.

Zaibak said he notices people are being much more proactive about going to the doctor at any onset of symptoms. He's ordering more medications to treat the symptoms, like cough medicine and acetaminophen. He is noticing wholesalers have shorter supplies of inhalers and masks.

Xing and his wife have been through tough times before, as they have endured the SARS epidemic in 2003 and survived a deadly earthquake in 2008. They came to the United States in 2010 to work in healthcare. His wife now volunteers for the American Red Cross.

"With everything we went through, and to us it's very natural response, it's, 'ok, something happened, let's work together to deal with it,'" Xing said.

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