In just two weeks, the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of Coronavirus outbreak, has experienced food shortages, an overwhelming number of patients, and several evacuations of foreigners visiting the city.
Developments in the Coronovirus outbreak and how city is coping paints a pciture of panic, as Wuhan ends its first week under quarantine. As countries race to deal with an outbreak that has begun spreading around the world, inciting panic and disrupting the global economy, the residents of Wuhan are waging a daily battle to survive an illness that has sickened more than 17,000 people and killed 361 in their city alone. It is nearly impossible to get the care they need to treat, or even diagnose, the coronavirus, say residents at the crisis’ center.
Last month, the government put Wuhan in a virtual lockdown, sealing off the city and banning most public transportation and private cars from its streets in a desperate effort to contain the outbreak. Now, many residents say it is nearly impossible to get the health care they need to treat — or even diagnose — the coronavirus.
Expressing exasperation, doctors say there is a shortage of testing kits and other medical supplies, and it is not clear why more are not available. The ban on transportation means some residents have to walk for hours to get to hospitals — if they are well enough to make the journey. Layers of bureaucracy stand between residents and help. And the long lines outside hospitals for testing and treatment suggest that the outbreak is spreading far beyond the official count of cases.
Ambulances, too, are hard to come by, residents say. In recent days, some say they have called 120, China’s equivalent of the emergency number 911, only to be told that there were already hundreds of people in the queue.
Those who do make it to the hospital say they are squeezed together for hours in waiting rooms, where infections are easily spread. But the shortages have meant that many are ultimately turned away and sent home to self-quarantine, potentially compounding the outbreak by exposing their families.
Many doctors and residents are putting their hopes on the two new coronavirus hospitals that China has been racing to build in Wuhan in just a matter of days.