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Doctor who warned about coronavirus now dead

by Joe Tomlinson
Wed, Feb 26th 2020 12:00 pm
People across China mourn the loss of Dr. Li Wenliang, who according to People's Daily, China died at 2:58 a.m. on Feb. 7, just a few weeks after getting diagnosed with coronavirus.
People across China mourn the loss of Dr. Li Wenliang, who according to People's Daily, China died at 2:58 a.m. on Feb. 7, just a few weeks after getting diagnosed with coronavirus.

On Friday, Feb. 7, Dr. Li Wenliang died from contracting coronavirus after attempting to warn his peers and college classmates in the medical field about the disease. The 34-year-old ophthalmologist who was working in the Chinese city of Wuhan where the virus originated is now dead just a few weeks after being hospitalized for an infection. 

According to the BBC, Li contracted the coronavirus while working at Wuhan Central Hospital. On Dec. 30, he alerted several fellow medics through the popular app WeChat of his concerns about the illness. 

A few days later local police contacted Li in order to address the nature of his posts. BBC reports he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau on Friday, Jan. 3, to sign a letter that claimed he had been “making false statements” that had “severely disturbed the social order.” 

The signed statement was made widely available online and roughly a week after signing it Li is documented texting about a cough. Following that he had a fever and within two days he had checked into a hospital for treatment. By the end of January, he was officially diagnosed with the coronavirus. 

After initial reports of his death were put out online, there was an outpouring of support and outrage with many on the app Weibo expressing grief as well as frustration with the local officials who had reprimanded Li.

The large majority of reported coronavirus cases have all been within China, the virus has taken the lives of 636 people and infected another 31,161 as shown by the latest National Health Commision numbers. 

China has responded in quick and industrious fashion to the growing needs of the infected population. Working to quarantine areas and construct new facilities at a blinding pace. Within six days, authorities and workers in the city of Wuhan erected and equipped a fully functional hospital with 1,000 beds. Apparently, this was an attempt to break the previous record of seven days, which took place in Beijing in 2003 in an effort to combat an earlier outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome virus. 

In fact, President Donald Trump recently complimented Chinese President Xi Jinping’s actions in response to the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan. 

“Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus,” Trump said on Twitter. “He feels they are doing very well, even building hospitals in a matter of only days. Nothing is easy, but he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone.” 

“Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!” the president concluded. 

The statements by Trump were made amid tensions after earlier in the week the Chinese foreign ministry accused the American government of overreacting to the virus outbreak and not providing sufficient aid. 

At this current moment, the Chinese government is laboring to respond to the epidemic and the coronavirus poses little to no threat to the U.S. mainland. 

However, within the U.S. there has been an uptick of cases of xenophobia against Asian-Americans being reported on social media all across the nations major cities. Many examples involve discrimination on public transport, yet signs in front of businesses around the world are denying service or entrance to Chinese people. Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines have already begun banning people with passports from China, Hong Kong or Macau.

The threat of coronavirus may grow to threaten the rest of the world, it is imperative that the U.S. coordinate and cooperate with China in order to curtail its spreading. Simultaneously, Americans and the world at large must work to not sensationalize the virus to the point where Asian people everywhere are at risk of being mistreated.

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