From Beijing to Wayzata: Study abroad connection leads to care package full of N95 masks

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As the coronavirus spreads, masks are in high demand across the country.

There are more in Minnesota now — all the way from China — and it’s thanks to a special connection made by the daughter of KSTP medical expert Dr. Archelle Georgiou.

Zoe Feldschon was studying abroad in Beijing when COVID-19 began spreading more than 700 miles away in Wuhan. Her study abroad program in China ended, but her connection with her host family stayed.

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"Seeing them on FaceTime reminds me that they’re still there because it almost feels like a big fever dream," Zoe Feldschon said.

Their international bond is so strong that Zoe Feldschon’s host family in China wanted to still help her here in America.

"My host family texted me multiple times and said, ‘Hey, we’re doing OK. Do you guys need masks?’" Zoe Feldschon said.

At first, the answer was no. But then, as the coronavirus spread in the state, Zoe Feldschon’s dad, Dr. David Feldschon, who’s in regular contact with patients, had trouble getting hold of the N95 masks.

"It’s a major concern that we have and my group is not having adequate protection when we have to do an endoscopy on someone who is in dire straits," David Feldschon said.

KSTP’s full COVID-19 coverage

And that’s when Zoe Feldschon’s host family sent a care package — more than 100 masks were delivered to their door.

"It’s kind of a thrill," David Feldschon said. "We can help them, and they can help us."

Those masks will be used by local doctors.

"It really helps to be like, ‘If they can get through this, I can get through this,’" Zoe Feldschon said.