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WKU alumnus experienced pandemic in both Spain and Italy

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 6:09 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Former WKU student Blake Pawley has lived in Spain for the last two years and experiences the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic abroad.

Pawley moved to Spain for a program teaching Spanish students English. In March, his family came to visit him in Spain, and the family traveled to Italy for what should have been a quick trip--until the pandemic hit.

“It’s a long story,” Blake starts out, “On our train to Rome, we received word that Spain is shutting its border with Italy and that Italy is going into a national lockdown while we were there. We did buy new flights. They were canceled within an hour. We bought another set of new flights back to Spain through another country in Europe and that was also canceled.”

Pawley’s parents made it back to Kentucky, but he had to stay in Spain because of both of his teaching program and lack of insurance in the United States. He says the situation in Spain was far different than in the United States.

“The quarantine in Madrid was way more intense than anything in the US. Maybe New York could compare to it,” he says.

Residents in Madrid could not leave the house at all unless for essentials. Violators were fined up to 600 euros, Pawley reports.

Spain hit its peak in April with nearly ten thousand new cases. “Early April was really bad. Morgues had overflowed. They had posted articles about how the ice-skating rink in Madrid was being used as an overflow morgue because of all of the deaths that were happening. So, it was really worrying whenever you started reading articles like that, you know?”

Pawley says, although it was scary, the quarantine got Spain back on track. He is visiting family in Kentucky right now but plans to return to Spain in September to continue teaching.

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