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Local family reacts to living in Japan among coronavirus

Posted at 11:50 PM, Feb 28, 2020

David and Pennie Cochran used to reside in San Luis Obispo County, where they graduated from Arroyo Grande High School.

But for the last ten-plus years, they've been living minutes away from Tokyo, Japan, where fears of the coronavirus are becoming very real.

"People are staying around their homes and not going out, unless they have to," said David Cochran. "So people are being very careful about where they go, what they do, and trying to stay away from crowded places."

David works as a teacher in Japan and a recent announcement from the government has had a major affect on schools across the country.

"There was an official announcement from that part of the government that handles that; they're requesting schools to close," said David Cochran.

Cochran says schools will be shut down for the entire month of March, and things like final exams and graduations are facing major changes.

"The school I work at--graduation will be held but without any parents. This is a high school graduation;there will be no parents, just the students and the teachers," said David Cochran.

KSBY spoke with David and Pennie twice over the last 24 hours.

They say much has changed over the course of one day in Japan after the announcement of school closures.

"Since they shut down the schools so suddenly, it's caused quite of a panic," said Pennie Cochran.

The panic caused the community to stockpile on grocery store essentials that now seem to be running out.

"The toilet paper is all sold out really, because of the people panicking. And I guess the backup was the tissue paper because the tissue paper is all selling out now too," said David Cochran.

While most schools are ending the school year shorter as a precaution, David and Pennie Cochran say they're doing what they can to be careful with the spreading coronavirus.

The Cochrans says the recent school closures have become worrisome but that they aren't yet fearful of the virus.