Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Chinese doctor who blew the whistle on coronavirus is now infected

A Chinese doctor who was targeted by Beijing authorities after sounding the alarm about the new coronavirus during its early days has now being hospitalized with the deadly illness, according to a new report.

On Dec. 30, Dr. Li Wenliang, 34, posted on the WeChat app a chilling warning among his medical-school alumni that seven people from a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan were quarantined in his hospital with a SARS-like illness, according to CNN.

Evoking memories of the SARS epidemic that claimed hundreds of Chinese lives amid a government coverup in 2003, Li told CNN, “I only wanted to remind my university classmates to be careful.”

But within hours of posting what he’d intended to be a private alert, screenshots of his messages had gone viral.

“When I saw them circulating online, I realized that it was out of my control and I would probably be punished,” Li said from his Intensive Care Unit bed after he was diagnosed on Saturday.

On the day that Li messaged his friends, Wuhan health officials informed medical facilities in the epicenter city that several patients from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market had contracted an “unknown pneumonia.”

“Any organizations or individuals are not allowed to release treatment information to the public without authorization,” the city’s Health Commission warned.

The next day, Wuhan authorities publicly announced the outbreak and informed the World Health Organization.