covering COVID-19 in the USA

Wudan Yan is a Seattle-based journalist and has been covering the COVID-19 pandemic for different publications. She tells us that this is the fastest moving disaster she has ever covered. Her other work has involved reporting on environmental damage from palm oil and the Rohingya refugee crisis.

We asked Wudan what it is like to report about coronavirus from Seattle – also being referred to as the epicentre of the virus in the U.S.

“Statistics and closures are constantly changing, so we have to be on top of it to give readers the most up to date information – I’d say that’s the most stressful part. Scientists are also working at a breakneck pace and there’s so much information out there,” Wudan said.

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Wudan has been mindful of the dangers that could expose one to the risk of contracting the virus. “Reporting abroad has taught me to basically always conduct a ‘risk assessment’ day of what dangers am I putting myself in and what are the measures to mitigate that,” she said.

She further added that social distancing measures in Seattle and elsewhere have left her dependent on just her two devices.

Talking about the impact of the virus on her mental health, Wudan said, “I’m lucky to have colleagues to bounce ideas off of, and we help each other with sourcing. Checking in with family and friends also helps. I’m also still trying to exercise every day to help with the mental health aspect.”

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by The Coalition for Women in Journalism

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