Raleigh mom frets as son, a student in China, is quarantined over coronavirus outbreak

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Suzanne Rose lights up at the sound of her son Spenser's voice. The two are separated by thousands of miles and a 12-hour time difference. Their morning FaceTime calls are routine and highly anticipated.

"I've definitely panicked, Sent texts in the middle of the night because I can't sleep and he'll call me right then," Rose said.

Her son, Spenser is studying at Wenzhou University in China. The country is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Spenser has been in quarantine for weeks. His university shut down along with the city. He wears a high-end respirator whenever he desperately needs to leave home.

"I wear this all the time," Spenser said. "The air passes through this carbon filter. And I can breathe, and I disinfect it with his alcohol spray."

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For the most part, Spenser is cooped up inside his one-bedroom apartment, staring at a computer screen as he works on his thesis paper.

"I need to see a physical person at some point," Spenser griped.



While Spenser shields himself from the outbreak, his mother is fighting an internal illness of her own, chronic worry.

"I think that's the scariest part. How do I get a hold of him? I don't have a Chinese visa to fly there and try to get into a hospital. I mean, there are so many obstacles" Rose said.

Rose, like many people, initially thought the virus would simply blow over. Now, it's blown up and the fear is putting her son and her sanity at risk.

As much as Rose wants her son home, they've decided that it's best for him to stay in China. The cost of flying home is expensive. There's an even greater risk of him getting the virus through travel plus Spenser only has a few more months left on the program.

"Every day I think should maybe he should come home, but now I'm thinking it's in Wake County. There's no safe place," Rose said.

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