As Coronavirus Threat Rises, Cambridge Man Hopes to Help Family and Friends in China

George Xue is trying to send supplies to loved ones living in China, where the coronavirus has already killed hundreds

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As the number of coronavirus cases worldwide continues to rise, one man in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is working to keep his family and friends overseas safe from the virus that is spreading fast.

George Xue, an educator and policy researcher, grew up in Shanghai, and some of his siblings are still there. He also graduated from a university in Wuhan, which is considered the epicenter of the outbreak in China. After hearing from some of his friends there, he made it his mission to collect medical supplies for the country.

"If you live in Wuhan, you are desperate," Xue said. "This is the only way I can help them at this moment."

Between online orders and visiting more than 20 stores, Xue has collected thousands of face masks and other medical supplies over the last two weeks. While he knows the supplies will not fully protect his loved ones from getting the virus, he said it is better than nothing.

"It's a layer of protection and it's all I can do to keep from feeling helpless," Xue said.

The Centers for Disease Control is recommending face masks be worn by patients with the virus and healthcare workers treating them. Xue said he was especially motivated to help after hearing about a shortage of medical supplies in China.

Xue's next challenge is finding a way to get to the supplies from Massachusetts to China. He was able to get some on a flight over the weekend and said a friend is planning to take more suitcases full of supplies later this month.

"Anyone going to China, I will ask them. I will beg them to help," Xue said.

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