Naperville Student Has Unique Perspective On Pandemic

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“I have had such a connection with Wuhan my entire life,” said Nicole Tong, a graduating senior at Naperville North High School.

And just like all her classmates, she’s adapting to life during a pandemic.

A Unique Perspective

But unlike her classmates, Nicole has family living in Wuhan, China, where COVID-19 originated in December. Both her parents grew up there and both sets of grandparents still live there.

“My family was very worried,” she said. “Everyday, I would come home from school and at the dinner table, our talk would basically just be about this disease and we would be talking about which of our family members might have been affected by it.”

By the time coronavirus became a threat in the U.S., Nicole’s family had already been watching its spread for months.

Writing About Her Experience

She said she felt like she was seeing the pandemic from two sides and was inspired to write about her experience. Her story was recently published on Buzzfeed News.

In her article, she discusses how Wuhan is so much more than just the source of COVID-19, and that she is disappointed that whenever she mentions her family there, people will think of coronavirus.

“I know that Wuhan as a city and as an entire entity of people is much more than this one label that we’ve been calling it. It’s so many things,” Nicole said. “It’s known as an industrial hub, it’s known as a culinary paradise. The food is SO good. It is pretty unfortunate but I do think that in some ways I hope my article has helped reveal that Wuhan is much more than just this disease, that It’s a multidimensional place. And most importantly, it’s the home of millions of people.”

Staying Positive

And though her family has been dealing with the pandemic longer than most, they’re still finding a silver lining.

“My grandparents have such a positive mindset when it comes to this. They always tell me about how after this, when we come out of this we’re definitely going to become more stronger and more united.”

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.

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