2020.3.4 The 42rd Day of the Wuhan City Closure
As of today, the Wuhan city closure has already lasted three half-months.
Yesterday, the number of new confirmed cases fell to one hundred. Many people got very excited hoping that the city closure will end soon. Some people optimistically estimate that we will be able to go back to work on March 10.
I am not so optimistic however because those figures are not very reliable.
Suitable epidemiological history (there are four possibilities);Suitable clinical presentation (three types of symptoms with a CT scan image being one of them).
Both conditions must be satisfied at the same time. If the first condition cannot be satisfied then all three clinical presentations must be satisfied. For there to be a confirmed diagnosis, in addition to the conditions for a suspected diagnosis being satisfied, the nucleic acid test must be positive as well.
What are the consequences of setting such standards? If an infected person does not have clinical symptoms, even if the nucleic acid test is positive, then that person is not included as a suspected case. Or if an infected person has all the clinical symptoms, including a CT scan showing lung lesions but the nucleic acid test is negative then that will not be counted as a confirmed case. The worst thing is that the nucleic acid test is only 30% to 50% accurate.
When we get this point, things are like someone whose underpants have been stolen but are still covering their ears not to hear the burglar alarm. What good does that do?
My only hope is that they do not give us false hopes.
The hospital hardest hit by this epidemic is probably the Wuhan Central Hospital. According to press reports, over two hundred workers there have been infected by the coronavirus, including three deputy hospital heads, one deputy director of nursing. Many department directors are on Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), many physicians are on respirators. Three physicians there have already died in the line of duty: Li Wenliang, Jiang Xueqing, and Mei Zhongming.
I have always felt that the top management of this hospital are bureaucrats. From the very beginning of this epidemic when decisive corrective action was taken against the rumor-mongering physician of that hospital, the hospital has manifested a strong “Party character”. “All medical personnel are ordered not to discuss among themselves in public the medical situation and not to leave any trace in written or graphic form that could serve as evidence of discussions of the medical situation”.
Another physician who was reprimanded was Ai Fen, director of the Emergency Department, said in an interview that she “had informed the hospital of the admission of patient but did not get any response. After she didn’t get any response, all she did was order the medical personnel in her own department to wear N95 face masks.” Not only was there an insensitivity to medical matters, there were not even any measures taken to increase protection for medical workers.
From all these many details, we can see that the effort has not focused on reducing the effect the contagious disease has on the hospital staff, ordinary people and the people of the city. Instead the focus has been on reducing insofar as possible the effect the outbreak has on political security and on their own official careers. That way of doing things is completely in line with the way bureaucratic factionalism works in the Chinese Communist Party. That is incompatible with being a medical professional. Or even less, not even the way a modern person with any common sense would have acted. Sure enough, I learned from a friend who knows this hospital that the party secretary of Central Hospital came out of the public health sector, was previously a department head of the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission and certainly lacks a specialized medical background and experience as a front-line physician.
Even more astonishing is that the latest propaganda from Central Hospital unexpectedly stated that “during the course of this epidemic, over twenty physicians and nurses from the Oncology Department, 19% of the staff, were infected by the coronavirus. Most were husbands and wives both working on the front-line against the epidemic. Director Wang Chun, despite the infection of many family members including his father-in-law, mother-in-law, and child took the lead is remaining at his post diagnosing fever cases. An Oncology Department nurse returned to the front-line just ten days after her miscarriage. Nurse Guo quarantined herself at home because there were no hospital beds available. Dr. Yang after serving a shift in relief diagnosing fever patients did all kinds of support tasks including working as a porter….” So many medical workers were infected. They don’t see them as shameful. Instead they see it as an honor. Those references of a “couple both medical workers”, “several family members infected”, “ten days after her miscarriage”….. when I came across those words I felt that they were bloody words. All these very terrifying things they list one-b-one, flaunting them.
I am really frightened for those doctors and nurses.
On the Weibo microblogs under the category “Coronavirus Patients Asking for Help”, I see very many postings from coronavirus patients looking for someone to help them. Recently I saw a posting about a three-year-old patient who was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in 2019. Before the epidemic began he had already had seven chemotherapy treatments and 25 radiotherapy treatments. He needs five more chemotherapy treatments. After the outbreak of the epidemic, however, the hospital where he was getting his treatments was requisitioned and so he was unable to continue his chemotherapy treatments. He had looked everywhere to get help without any result. Therapy had already been delayed for a month and his condition might take a turn for the worse at any time.
I can never understand why prisoners who have completed their sentences are allowed to leave the city while seriously ill people who are not infected cannot be smoothly transferred to a hospital in another province to get treatment?
I don’t know what to say. Should I be just heart-broken? Or sad that the lives of the people are so difficult? Why, after an entire month has gone by, why is there still so many clear gaps and chaos? I don’t know.