Coronavirus (COVID-2019) claims yet another high-profile life as Wuhan hospital director succumbed to death Tuesday morning soaring the death toll to over 1,800, China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported today.
Lui Zhiming, a neurosurgeon and the director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, passed away after all-out rescue efforts failed. The reports began surfacing on news channels and social media shortly after midnight Tuesday despite doctors claiming they were providing life-saving treatment.
His death – confirmed at 10:30 AM Tuesday – has prompted national grief and anger. People took to social media to lash out at the authorities for mishandling the crisis. They could not help but draw comparisons between Zhiming and Li Wenliang’s tragic deaths.
Wenliang, a 34-year old Wuhan ophthalmologist, was the whistleblower who first raised alarm about the deadly virus on December 30th, 2019. Wenliang was barred by authorities from bringing reports to media. He was summoned by the Public Security Bureau and made to sign a letter that accused him of making false claims to cause panic. He was later investigated for spreading rumors. Dr. Wenliang died on February 7, 2020. He is now being looked up to as the “man who knew”.
Wuhan is the epicenter of the CoV-2019 outbreak that has so far caused nearly 1,800 deaths in China (including one in Taiwan and Hong Kong each) and three abroad. There are 72,528 and 800 confirmed cases of coronavirus in China and the rest of the world respectively. Of the infected, more than 12,000 patients in China have recovered.
China has activated Level 1 emergency response in 31 provinces. For the last 14 days, the number of cases has been dropping consistently outside Hubei province, i.e., <100. An official from the National Health Commission has claimed that for the first time, the number of daily confirmed cases is falling. Earlier, more than 2,000 cases emerged daily. The figures reflect a positive trend that the virus may have begun to contain on its own or the measures to control the epidemic have proven effective.
Earlier, an 83-year-old woman was discharged from Leishenshan Hospital, Wuhan, after recovering from COVID-19. She is the first patient to be successfully treated and discharged from the newly-built hospital in the city.
Scientists Inch Closer To Developing COVID-2019 Vaccine
In collaboration with the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO), China has upped efforts to find potential treatment for the deadly virus. Currently, more than 80 clinical trials are underway in China where local and international teams of researchers are investigating a horde of drugs, enzymes, proteins and herbs for their therapeutic efficacy in arresting the viral replication and its human-to-human transmission. Currently, there is neither prevention nor cure for the virus.
Meanwhile, China’s state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm Group is working on coronavirus vaccine as well as an antimalarial drug (chloroquine phosphate) that has shown promise against the virus. The inactivated vaccine is being cultivated in Beijing and Wuhan. The group has already developed test kits (nucleic acid) to screen patient specimens for coronavirus.