Coronavirus leaves international students scrambling to get home

Yashovardhan Maheshwari, a freshman at the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus, was aboard one of the last planes allowed to fly to India on March 20, two days before that nation imposed a temporary ban on international flights. As college campuses across the nation were being shut down, international students around the world were left scrambling to find a safe way home amid a pending wave of travel restrictions. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had 10,610 international students from 113 countries for the 2019-2020 school year and many were torn between staying or returning home. For Maheshwari, his journey to get home to Bhopal, India started on a Friday in Chicago at 1:30 p.m. and ended 31 hours later, after long lines, tight quarters with thousands of fellow passengers, three health screenings and little-to-no-food. A 15-hour flight followed by 16-hours locked in an airport. 

Maheshwari said the situation was “mismanaged” as 8,000 passengers from international flights were held in close proximity for 16 hours at the Indira Gandhi International Airport or IGI, in Delhi.

Public lab testing of coronavirus faced weeks of delays; number of tests conducted locally unknown

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District started preparing for the coronavirus outbreak in January of this year, but no testing for the disease locally began until the first week of March, according to interviews with health officials.And, as of Saturday, March 28, 15 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and only 132 tests had been submitted to state testing labs for Champaign County residents, which has a population of 209,000. It is unclear if all test results have been returned because it can take days for state lab results to be sent back to the healthcare institution that submitted the test. It is unknown how many private tests are administered or coming back negative because the public health department, like many other Central Illinois county health departments, does not track private tests, and hospitals are not disclosing the information. But more tests and broader knowledge of testing and results can help give a fuller picture of the disease, said Enbal Shacham, director of the Public Health Studies Doctoral Program at St. Louis University. 

“We do not know how many cases are occurring, only those that have distinct, extreme symptoms; some locations are still only letting people who traveled/or interacted with someone who traveled to  get a test,” Shacham said in an email.

Concerns over COVID-19 lead to cuts in county jail population

Despite sharp spikes in population, such as a population of 173 on March 24, the number has stayed below the 2019 daily average since safety precautions began earlier this month. As of March 27, the number had fallen back to 157 people — with 11 serving prison sentences, 128 awaiting trial and the rest on Electronic Home Detention.

“We have taken steps to encourage officers to not bring in inmates if they don’t need to and have also been working with the State’s Attorney’s office to identify inmates who don’t pose a safety risk who can be released from jail,” Sheriff Dustin Heuerman wrote in an email to

I had COVID-19 and here is my story

Elizabeth Schneider is a marketing program manager at NanoString Technologies and is based in Seattle, Washington. This is a republication of her Facebook post on March 8, 2020. 

I had COVID-19 and here is my story. I made this post public out of several requests from my friends who asked me to share. I hope it gives you some good information and peace of mind! First how easily you can get it.