Newport News man evacuated from Wuhan due to coronavirus working his way home

Posted at 3:31 PM, Feb 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-12 17:37:46-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Each day, more Americans arrive on U.S soil after evacuating China due to the deadly outbreak of novel coronavirus.

"Hope I'll be back in the States soon, about 24 hours, I think, then 14 days of quarantine wherever I land," Sergio McCrae said on a Facebook video.

McCrae recently evacuated Wuhan. He's a former Norfolk State University student and Newport News native who's been living in Wuhan off and on for the past 7 years teaching English.

"Teaching in Wuhan has been one of the most rewarding experiences," he told News 3. "I love it there, my life is there."

But his life suddenly changed in early January, when reports of what he was told was a respiratory virus circulated in his town.

"At first it was pretty relaxed," McCrae said. "We were all being told, 'Just be cool, be clean, and consider wearing a mask.'"

After taking the suggestion, buying food and supplies and taking refuge in his house, he started to learn the illness was a bit more threatening.

"On January 23, they stopped all exit out of Wuhan, and over the next couple of days they shut down all public transportation. That's when I started to get concerned," he said.

He started documenting his experiences on YouTube, showing what looked like a ghost town.

"It was weird," he said. "Just imagine the streets of New York empty - there is always movement in Wuhan."

On February 6, after a lengthy exit process and various health screenings, he flew out of China and is now being quarantined at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas.

"We have two temperature checks a day, and also a town hall meeting where they provide updates," he explained.

He says he is at a hotel with about 50 other Americans, none of whom have had any signs or symptoms of the virus.

"My biggest takeaway is I have to be thankful, and they are treating us so well here," said McCrae.

He is hopeful that he will soon be reunited with his family in Newport News. He says the earliest his quarantine will be up is February 20.