MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Coronavirus concerns are spreading around the world, and no city outside of China is dealing with the outbreak quite as much as Daegu, South Korea. The majority of the country’s 1,200 cases are in that city, south of Seoul.

Oshkosh, Wisconsin native Peter Lenz is teaching English in Daegu right now.

He’s been there since September and said, when the Coronavirus outbreak hit the city last week, people took it very seriously. Many schools, including his, cancelled classes until March 9. Lenz is receiving some updates via government-issued text messages.

“When you go outside, very few people are outside and it’s definitely — to describe it — eerie,” said Lenz.

South Korean health officials are encouraging the city’s 2 million people in Daegu to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.

“I went outside for the first time on Sunday, so from Wednesday to Sunday, I was inside the whole time,” said Lenz. “Then on Sunday, I went to try to find some food [and] coffee.”

Although Lenz is worried about the virus spreading, he kept his spirits up while speaking with WCCO, joking about prioritizing coffee over food. He said his family in Wisconsin is not as bubbly, describing his mom’s concerns as a “controlled panic.”

Aside from health risks, economic consequences are front of mind for many people in outbreak cities. Lenz has not received a paycheck for one week and does not expect to receive one until at least March 9, the tentative date when schools can reopen. Businesses who have stayed open have taken a hit due to a lack of customers.

Christiane Cordero

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