Amid coronavirus outbreak, NJ family eager for daughter’s return from China

Charlotte Reese
February 02, 2020 - 10:02 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Tuesday can’t come soon enough for the Cook family in Haddon Heights, New Jersey.

Their daughter, 25-year-old Allie Cook, has been teaching English at Wuhan Polytechnic University — which is located in the city where the coronavirus erupted.

More than 300 people have died from the coronavirus since the first case was detected in China in December. The first death outside of China was reported in the Philippines on Sunday.

Some 1,400 people worldwide have been infected — eight of them confirmed in the U.S. 

Fortunately, Cook went on vacation just before it was declared a global emergency outbreak. Right now, she’s in Chengdu, about 700 miles west of Wuhan.


“We want her home, we want her in our arms,” Allie Cook’s father, David, told CBS3. She’s expected to be back in New Jersey by Tuesday. “We’re proud of her for what she’s doing over there, teaching. But as a parent, we want to be able to reach out and bring her home.”

“I was really terrified,” Allie Cook told CBS3. “There were a few nights I couldn’t sleep because I was like, what if I touch something and what if something happened and I have the virus?

“I just want to go back to my apartment at this point,” she added, “and be back in Wuhan.”

KYW Newsradio’s medical editor Brian McDonough said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised physicians and hospitals to look for certain symptoms if people think they are at risk.

“Do you have a fever, symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection, such as cough or shortness of breath? And have you traveled to mainland China within the past 14 days of the symptoms’ onset? Or, have you had close contact with a person carrying the so-called 2019 coronavirus infection?” he explained.

McDonough said there’s no vaccine or specific treatment yet for the coronavirus. 

“Basically, we try supportive medical care and if someone is confirmed or has a suspected infection and they’re hospitalized, they should be evaluated in a private room with a door closed,” he continued. “Ideally, most hospitals have an airborne infection isolation room.”

Americans returning from China will be allowed in the country, but they will face screening and may be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

In Philadelphia, Penn, Drexel and Temple universities have advised against or restricted travel to China for students, staff and faculty.