FORT PAYNE, Ala. - The Coronavirus Disease 2019 has killed more than 1,100 people in the Western Pacific according to the World Health Organization. The Centers for Disease Control and prevention reports more than 400 people have been tested for the disease in the United States, but only 14 of those have tested positive.
One Northeast Alabama man has a close connection to China as an online English teacher.
He wants to raise awareness about what his students are dealing with and hoping to help get more masks to those in need.
Disable veteran William Carter teaches English to dozens of Chinese students each day. He told WHNT News 19 that the students are usually on their A-game. But lately, they have been more distracted.
“Everything was good except for when the coronavirus hit. There was just a big change of attitude. A lot of them weren’t into the lesson, couldn’t play with the teddy bear because their mind was on this very serious virus,” said Carter.
Carter said he and other teachers have been asked by students to send them masks.
“It is the most heartbreaking, helpless feeling you could ever imagine when you’ve got a five or six-year-old kid begging you for a mask,” said Carter.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 can spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets.
That is why masks can make all the difference.
“I have some that are sick. They’ll cough on camera or sneeze and these are students in Wuhan. The epicenter for this thing. And that’s scary because a little cold over there could mean a lot,” said Carter.
He said he wants to help his students any way he can.
After searching for weeks, he found MedShare, a humanitarian aid group out of Atlanta, Ga. MedShare collects surplus medical supplies from hospitals, manufacturers, or individuals and redistributes them to hospitals and clinics in countries around the world.
Group officials said the supplies donated to them to be sent to China must be in the original packaging.
“I feel like if more people could see what those people are experiencing over there, they’d want to help,” said Carter.
Carter plans to buy medical masks and donate them to MedShare for efficient delivery to the Chinese. He hopes others will join him.