Westerville man recalls being locked down in Wuhan as pandemic began

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of life all around the world.

Lockdown happened across the glove in order to slow the spread of the virus, which was first detected in Wuhan, China.

The city is back open now, but it was a year ago when it locked down, and one central Ohio man was in Wuhan when that happened.

John McGory was in Wuhan 365 days ago. He was scared and at the time, didn’t know how dangerous COVID-19 would turn out to be.

Now, he’s back in his hometown of Westerville, reflecting on the past year.

McGory took a selfie in Wuhan on Jan. 23, 2020, the city’s first day under lockdown.

“It was a challenging time,” McGory said. “They went 80 days in total lockdown where people weren’t going outside at all. To see no one on the streets was quite alarming and here we didn’t quite get to that level.”

In early February, he was back in the United States. He had to spend two weeks in quarantine in California before finally getting back to Westerville.

He said since this weekend marks one year since the start of Wuhan’s lockdown, he’s recently been thinking a lot about the past 365 days.

“All the different emotions that have come with this, it’s been a real roller coaster, emotional roller coaster the past year,” McGory said.

He had just retired after teaching for six years in Wuhan. McGory said that as of Jan. 24, 2021, his friends there told him that life is mostly back to normal, whereas Ohio still has some restrictions in place.

“It is ironic and that’s what I’ve sort of felt like,” McGory said. “I left Wuhan to come home to get sick. Luckily enough, I haven’t gotten sick so far, so that’s one positive thing. The irony is, it’s rich in irony.”

Just as the medical community has learned a lot over the past year, so has McGory.

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens, how life changes,” he said. “I’m sure there’ll be some changes that evolve out of all of this. What they are, I don’t think we’ll know for a while.” 

McGory is working on a book about his experiences, with hopes it will be published sometime this year.

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