A Chinese doctor who has been credited with being one of the first to sound the alarm and attempt to warn the world about the new strain of coronavirus that is now ravaging China is in critical condition, according to multiple reports. Dr. Li Wenliang is said to be seriously ill with a coronavirus infection, but he remains alive despite conflicting media reports claiming he had died of the illness.
Li first announced the discovery of the virus and its infectious potential back in December, but his claims quickly caught the eye of the Chinese government. He was accused of spreading false information related to the virus in an attempt to cause a panic. Now, months later, the virus has infected nearly 30,000 people and claimed over 560 lives.
Reports of Li’s death came fast and furious out of China this week, but were deleted fairly quickly. At that point, Wuhan Central Hospital announced that Li had indeed fallen ill with the coronavirus but that he was still alive. The hospital claimed it was in “critical condition.”
“In the fight against the pneumonia epidemic of the new coronavirus infection, our hospital’s ophthalmologist Li Wenliang was unfortunately infected,” the hospital’s statement read. “He is currently in critical condition and we are trying our best to resuscitate him.”
The unfortunate circumstances only serve to highlight the serious lack of information coming from within China regarding the outbreak. Official reports out of the country show rising numbers of infections and deaths, but with how widespread the outbreak seems to be, it’s hard to know how accurate any of those numbers truly are.
The fact that one of the doctors who first tried to warn the world about the virus has now fallen severely ill with the infection is incredibly sad. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that he pulls through.