UNM faculty member describes life in Prague amid pandemic

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak, a University of New Mexico professor found himself in Prague, where he’s on sabbatical. It’s not the trip he envisioned but he says he’s still thankful to be there. “It was frightening because I don’t know the health care system. And I have not thankfully, I haven’t had to use it yet,” said David Weiss.

Weiss is the chair of the Communications and Journalism Department at UNM. He arrived in Prague in February on sabbatical and is teaching courses at Charles University. Weiss says as soon as cases began hitting Prague, the Czech Republic immediately began closing everything and they have ordered everyone to wear masks. He says if you are seen out in public without a mask you will be fined.

Now, he actually feels fortunate he was there during the outbreak because he feels safer that the country took so many precautions so early. “I feel like raising a big flag and say just do what we’re doing in the Czech Republic because it’s working. So to answer your question, I can’t imagine honestly, there’s a safer place for me to be,” said Weiss.

He said far fewer people are sick in Prague than have been in other countries and he says when he goes out to take walks, he rarely runs into anyone. He says he’s been documenting popular tourist spots showing that no one is around.

Weiss says he’s been spending most of his time in his apartment and is still teaching his courses now online. Weiss is expected to return to the U.S. in June, although he says his flight plans have changed because there are only a handful of cities you can fly into from out fo the country, for screening.


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