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New Coronavirus is impacting life on U.S. military bases in South Korea

Posted at 6:42 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 18:42:47-04

(WXYZ) — The new coronavirus is not yet here in Michigan. To understand what could happen here as it spreads in the United States, we can look to how our government is working to stop the spread to our service members in South Korea.

Only on 7, one military wife from metro Detroit is sharing her experience.

Christine Illichmann grew up in South Lyon. Right now she, her husband Sergeant First Class Mark Illichmann, and there their children are living on base in South Korea.

If you take a look at numbers from John Hopkins University, while as of March 6 there were about 259 cases confirmed in the United States, there were about 6.593 cases confirmed in South Korea. The country where more than 28,000 U.S. Troops are stationed is a hot zone for the virus.

“The base has been really great about keeping everyone informed and keeping everyone safe,” said Christine.

She spoke to WXYZ on FaceTime. She says the new Coronavirus crisis is like being snowed in but without snow. Schools are closed.

“The schools are shut down both on the military base and throughout Korea. When you drive on to the military base We have our temperature taken and we are asked if we have visited any of the hot spots any of the hot zones where there has been coronavirus detected. And if you even have a slight fever you are asked to do a secondary screening where you are checked more thoroughly,” she said.

Only mission essential personnel on base are going to work. Her husband Mark is mission essential and is working. They are being asked not to do anything that would involve gathering with a group of people.

It can be a stressful changing routines to prevent getting sick, especially for her four-year-old son, as she is caring for her 8-week-old newborn baby. They are still able to go outside on walks, even while avoiding groups of people.

“We can’t really hang out with our friends as much and things, so yeah, we are feeling stir crazy,” she said.

Her positive message is that with everyone working together to stop the spread of the virus seems to be effective.