Fears over coronavirus halt travel plans for some

Muneeb Shahid will be staying home in Carmel instead of traveling to visit family in Pakistan. (WTHR photo)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Muneeb Shahid should to packing his suitcase tonight, getting ready for his planned trip to Karachi, Pakistan.

"I was supposed to leave tomorrow," Shahid explained.

Instead, a visit to see his parents and siblings will have to wait, until concerns about the coronavirus spreading are under control.

"I didn't want to be in a situation where there's a spread in Pakistan and I'm stuck there because there's all these restrictions," Shahid said.

Right now, there are still so many unknowns about the virus.

"What makes it scary is it's new and we don't understand all of it," said Thomas Duszynski, who heads up epidemiology education at IUPUI. "We don't know the modes of transmission or the incubation period or who's at risk."

And with no vaccine yet, or antivirals to take to fight it, the idea of the virus becoming widespread here in the U.S. can be frightening.

Duszynski says there's no need to panic.

"Right now there are more flu deaths in the U.S. than globally with coronavirus," he explained.

Still, Duszynski says we should be ready to deal with an outbreak.

"It's a respiratory disease, so social distancing is really important to stop the spread of the disease," Duszynski explained.

That means avoiding areas where lots of people are gathered.

Shahid won't have to worry about that. He's staying put with his family here in Carmel.

"I'll just have to wait and see how the spread goes worldwide," Shahid said.

A wait that could determine when he sees his family in Pakistan again.