(LEX 18) — Back in May of 2020 when the pandemic was just beginning to spread to the United States, LEX 18 caught up with an independent videographer who is from Kentucky and has been living in China.
Andrew Braun lives in Shanghai, but he has traveled to Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus, twice now. The first time was in May of 2020 when he said it was a ghost town. This week he said it was like a ghost town again.
"It was normal like completely; we were out there filming for like two-and-a-half days and we were trying to see a one year after kind of thing, and it's kind of incredible how normal everything is. People are still wearing masks but all the things I saw before don't exist anymore," says Braun.
In 2020 when he got off the train to Wuhan, he was met by officials in hazmat suits. He was then screened and misted with disinfecting spray. Now some people are still wearing masks, but in Shanghai, he says people only really wear them if they are going to the hospital or traveling.
Braun is happy his new home country is returning to somewhat normal but says he feels helpless as case numbers have risen in America. It's almost impossible for him to visit the states because if he leaves the country, he fears he may not be able to return.
"The one thing that makes it difficult is I can't really leave. Like if I leave, and China changes their rules, I could be gone for two days and they might not allow foreigners back into the country without a PU letter," Braun said.
It has been well over a year since Braun has seen his family.
"It's really frustrating and nerve-racking cause my parents are still in Kentucky, my sister lives in Indiana, other family members are in Minnesota and other states. It sucks because if something happens to them it's very difficult for me to leave," Braun said.
Of course, as homesick as he may be, he is thankful for his health.