BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Chinese community in Western New York is feeling the effect of the coronavirus outbreak overseas, canceling their Chinese New Year celebration here two weeks ago.
"We felt that we can not do much to help our friends and family members. That's dragging down the mood of people. It's the reason we couldn't celebrate the Chinese New Year," said Zhen Liu, a University at Buffalo professor.
"We canceled the event because of the worry in the group," said Libing Wu, the Vice President of Chinese Club WNY, "Of course it's not as joyful as other years."
Liu has lived in Buffalo for 12 years. He has a family still in China.
"I have parents and my older sister in Shanghai and I'm very concerned about them. Right now, they're okay," said Liu.
He also has childhood friends in Wuhan - ground zero for the virus.
"So far so good, but I'm not sure how long it can last," Liu said, "They are in a really dire situation."
Libing Wu has lived in Buffalo for ten years. His parents are here, but his extended family lives in China.
"Luckily they're far away from Wuhan but there are a couple people who have the virus in their region," Wu said.
Despite what has been reported in other parts of the world, Liu and Wu said they are not experiencing any fear-fueled racism in Buffalo because of what has happened in China.
"Here in Buffalo I feel safe. I go to work and I see my friends and nobody treats me different," said Wu.
"Buffalo is actually very friendly to immigrants compared with many other cities in the United States. We feel very lucky that we are here," said Liu.