Think your job is hard? Try being a Chinese healthcare worker in the coronavirus-plagued Hubei province.
According to data released from China’s National Health Commission, at least 1,716 health workers have been infected with the coronavirus. Six of them have died from the disease.
Most of the infections have occurred in Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, where 87% of the infected workers reside.
Chinese Vice Minister Zeng Yixin highlighted their plight during a recent news conference:
At present, the duties of medical workers at the front are indeed extremely heavy; their working and resting circumstances are limited, the psychological pressures are great, and the risk of infection is high
Zeng’s remarks are an understatement.
Chinese healthcare workers don’t only face the danger of getting infected. Some of them are literally working themselves to death. Others are being deliberately infected by the people they are trying to help.
On Feb. 6, 28-year-old doctor Song Yingjie died of cardiac arrest after working for ten days straight at his medical clinic in the Hunan province.
His loss was followed by the death of Li Wenliang, the doctor who tried to blow the whistle on the coronavirus outbreak in December before the Chinese government censored him.
Even more shocking are the numerous accounts of healthcare workers being attacked – and even deliberately infected – by angry coronavirus victims and their families.
This video published by the South China Morning Post purports to show a sick man coughing on a nurse because he didn’t get the medication that he wanted.
The man didn’t have the coronavirus. But other healthcare workers haven’t been so lucky.
The suffering and sacrifices made by China’s medical workers are in sharp contrast to the safety and seeming incompetence of many of its government’s top officials.
Perhaps in an effort to save face, the Chinese Communist Party is finally punishing the local officials who let the coronavirus outbreak get so out of control in the first place.
Zhang Jin, Hubei’s party chief of the health commission, and Liu Yingzi – the director of health in the province – were both fired from their posts for mishandling the crisis in its early stages.
While these firings give Beijing a useful scapegoat for the coronavirus crisis, it’s unclear if it will be enough to restore the people’s faith in a government that has caused them so much unnecessary suffering.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
Last modified: February 14, 2020 9:55 PM