China’s Doctors, Fighting the Coronavirus, Beg for Masks

Confronting a viral epidemic with a scant supply of protective equipment, more than 1,700 Chinese medical workers have already been infected, and six have died.

Comments: 288

  1. The country that supposedly put together a huge hospital in 2 weeks can't provide protective equipment to healthcare workers. Interesting.

  2. It may be that China's economy is just like America's - working only for a few, and not for all.

  3. @Steve China makes all these items for themselves and for many other health care providers throughout the world. Now, China's factories are largely shuttered due to the lockdowns to prevent the spread of this virus. It's a problem for China and it could be a problem elsewhere if this virus should spread widely throughout the world.

  4. @Barbara They kept it secret for a month for they wanted to enjoy their holidays in February. Selfish government!

  5. There will be a lot of right wing propaganda exhaled on these comment sections about stories from China as pseudo-evidence of the evils of “socialism and socialized medicine”. However some of the best medical science and clinical medical research comes from China and other countries with government sponsored healthcare systems. When a patient in the United States shows signs of leprosy, TB, syphilis, COVID-19, etc., your local doctors office and hospital are ill-prepared to handle the testing, and they call on the services of federal (CDC), state, and local departments of public health to combat the contagion and pandemics. The horror - socialism!!

  6. @Frequently Changed officials hold things up because they want to protect their areas of the country. part of this problem began when the central government in china muzzled the first reports of this virus. and then the reporting physician died. if you are looking to advance "socialism" and defend this system you must also acknowledge it's weaknesses, of which there are many, from substandard building practices to mass control of movement in the country to lack of school for migrant children who are not registered in their districts. systems the problem i think with many systems is complacency and top down control

  7. @susan mc You are talking about totalitarianism, or fascism not socialism. Communism and Capitalism are economic precepts which can be co-opted by authoritarian or fascist leaders. What creates healthy societies is socialism, not fascism. What creates healthy economies is a flexible or varying amount of socialism and capitalism depending on the scenarios presented by Mother Nature or undo pressures from other competing countries. Religious teachings (ethics) can be co-opted by religious leaders for their own biased views for the betterment of a few.

  8. @Frequently Changed LEPROSY? Really? I have news for you: leprosy is not terribly contagious. You really have to work to get leprosy from somebody else. In my years of practice I’ve seen quite a few leprosy cases and it’s not a big deal. We treat leprosy now, and it’s effective. I’m an infectious disease doctor and you need to stop causing panic through your lack of knowledge.

  9. This is exactly what would have happened if another outbreak occurred. The bureaucratic system within China has come under increasingly centralized leadership under Xi, who (presumptuously) believe that he alone commands all power in China, not only political power (as General Secretaries since Deng Xiaoping did) but intends to take over economic and social dictatorial power. What you now have, ladies and gentlemen, is a nation with modernized urban ppl willing to support democracy but also rural and suburban ppl with devotion to the regime. Since modernized ideology came under crack down of CCP, no wonder its officials are showing such clumsiness in times of emergency. These apparatchik have no intentions to serve the nation. Their only goal is to serve Mr.Xi., i.e. whoever has higher ranks. Let us mourn for these hard times.

  10. You are mistaken. China is doing very well considering the circumstances. Less hysteria inaccurate scare mongering irresponsible press reports would go a long way in calming down the fears of the ill informed public

  11. @Fcterr China was never doing well if you take in consideration of its people, they are willing to sacrifice the own people for economic advantages. The government tried to hide the virus outbreak trough all means they even arrest the doctor that found out about the virus, who is now dead due to the virus but who knew even if that's even true. Me being born in Hong Kong has seen it all in 2003, deja vu lesson never learned.

  12. Almost from the beginning the government of China has done everything wrong, and they seem shell shocked. It is very similar to when the Nazis invaded Russia and the Russian government collapsed, because everything had to be cleared through Stalin and Stalin was in a state of shock. Fortunately for Russia and the world a series of great Russian generals came to the fore and Stalin recoverd his nerve. This is the problem with communism, everything must be cleared by the people high up in the government and people below are afraid to take individual steps, because any mistake and their head will be on the chopping block and they will be the ones blamed for anything that goes wrong. The Chinese people did themselves no favors, by hoarding supplies, and fleeing Wuhan before the quarantine. I feel great sympathy for the Chines people, let us hope as more and more people recover and build up the antibodies that will make them immune, that things will get easier, and the virus as many do will begin to dissipate. These virus have a tendency to mutate. where they can get deadlier or become completely harmless, let us pray to god that it is the latter.

  13. Coronavirus simply exposes the neglected medical care in China which have not been addressed and improved in the last thirty years. The vast majority of the hospitals and clinics in China have been government owned and operated, and medical staff have long been underpaid. A lot of medical funding has been gone to buy expensive equipment (like CT Scan) and medicine where kickbacks were rampant (check and see how many drug companies like GlaxoSmithKline have been caught and fined in China). If it weren't these inadequacies, why do you think 99% of the deaths from Coronavirus were from China, especially from Wuhan? Facts don't lie, government lies...

  14. @paul 99% of the deaths from the Coronavirus are from China because 99% of the cases (as well as the earliest ones) are from China. It's not that complicated. Don't read too deep.

  15. @Tek Not true. when SARS happened in 2003, wherever it went, patients died, whether there were in China or outside of China. Yet, for Coronavirus ,there have been hundreds of cases reported outside of Wuhan, in places like Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Taiwan, cruise ships, and etc. How many deaths have been reported in those places? One in Philippines and one in Japan. That is the fact.

  16. @paul let me help you to understand the numbers: 1- at the epicenter, only the very sickest are diagnosed at all. being the sickest, more of them die. since this doesn't seem quite as deadly as SARS there are likely many infected walking around the epicenter that we don't know about. 2- in case you haven't noticed, there are 10s of 1000s of very sick patients there. even in the blessed lands of America, this would quickly overwhelm a city or region's ability to provide care that might save the severely ill. and speaking of inadequate healthcare systems, how many are uninsured right here in the richest country in the world? how many don't have sick days? how many homeless? how many in crowded prisons? if we get hit as hard as they have been, i wouldn't be surprised if we fare worse here. and by then, there will literally be no masks left at all...

  17. HUH? Build a Hospital or two in 10 days. China you can make some masks.

  18. @Just Me Exactly what I was just about to post.

  19. In most pictures, everyone's eyes are exposed. Medical workers first, should be supplied with goggles.

  20. @PATRICK and people not wearing gloves handling medical protective gear

  21. The Chinese supply lines can fill every WalMart in America yet according to this article they can't bring medical supplies to one of their stricken cities. Sounds preposterous !

  22. Meanwhile... China is the manufacturing center -- ground zero -- for much of the world's drug supply. China has supply chains that go down to basic molecular precursors for most drugs... antibiotics, blood thinners, HIV/AIDS meds, heart meds... Last US plant that manufactured penicillin closed in 2004. Most generic drugs come from China. Many of the vitamins & supplements you see in US stores began life as Chinese chemicals. It's a function of globalization... Send the US/European plants to China for those... Lower wages! Less regulation! Govt support! And then show Wall Street the extra pennies per share every quarter. Works great, until it doesn't.

  23. @Arctic Fox yeah thinking cancer causing chemicals in the meds from china. we never never should have surrendered our manufacturing to outsourcing. it's the bottom line i guess...what kind of beings are we?

  24. @Arctic Fox And the global manufacturer of the protective medical equipment!

  25. Article needs correcting : CDC reccs only N95 for those performing culture. Those on front lines will wear surgical masks.

  26. I'm kind of sickened by the Times' use of pictures without these patients' consent. They're at their most vulnerable and don't have the ability to provide it.

  27. @Joshua Tucker This is very special circumstances - truth is hard to come by from China. China has many human rights issues, and you are speaking of privacy.... They execute people for drug offense and punish for disseminating rumors against government. I would make an exception to general rule of privacy here, considering how difficult it is to discover truth from Wu Han.

  28. They are also not identifiable in the photos, so there is no harm.

  29. @Joshua Tucker Hard to get a signature without taking off your gloves.

  30. We here in America, have the time and distance to get ready just in case this virus jumps the Oceans. The good news is that god gave all of us the first line of defense against any virus: Our wonderful immune systems, and to strengthen that immune system the following tips will help: Don't smoke. It is no coincidence that smoking is prevalent in China, China is the largest consumer of tobacco in the world. Put down the sugary food and pick up the fruit and vegetables, natures very own immune system booster shots. exercise regularly , try to walk at least a mile everyday Get plenty of sun, the sun is a natural vitamin that fuels the immune system Get plenty of rest, sleep is nature way of recharging your immune system Foods that fuel the immune system Brown rice Nuts seeds citrus fruit Red Bell peppers broccoli Garlic Ginger Spinach Chicken Breast Salmon and don't forget staying nice and hydrated with water, squeeze in a little lemon for a kick foods that hurt the immune system sugar chips fried food fast food alcohol some other tips for a virus free home Avoid touching your eye,nose and mouth wash hands often Keep your home clean. Wash floors frequently, you and your guests bring nasty things home on your feet. Lysol is a life saver, spray it on doorknobs, light switches, toilet bowls and handles, water faucets, sinks. Use hand sanitizes when you can't wash your hands. Follow these tips and you will be much, much healthier in the long run.

  31. @Lonnie - I will stick with the alcohol. I also tell guests to take off their filthy shoes.

  32. @Lonnie This list of things may be beneficial in the broad sense. They will do absolutely nothing to keep you from getting infected if you come into contact with someone who is infected.

  33. @NMY Peerhaps these tips will help you fight off the virus and suffer only a mild case.

  34. I read masks are most effective protecting others from an infected wearer’s airborne oral and nasal secretions and presumably keeps the hands cleaner. Less effective preventing infection of the wearer - the uninfected may be pick up virus on their hands or other parts, end up infected because the mask eventually comes off.

  35. @RJH yes! Please wear a mask when you are the one coughing and sneezing. That is how masks are to be protect those around you.

  36. @RJH The most effective tool against all spreadable diseases is frequent and thorough washing of hands with soap and air drying. Masks just slow down and discourage tiny droplets of mucous coughed up by sick people from lingering in the air or on surface and being breathed in. They don't work for children and they certainly don't work for people who cover their mouths and not their noses and mouths! It's clear from photos that many people are not clear on how these masks are supposed to work.

  37. Can't our government help with supplies? After all, it's in our interest to do so. If not, how can I help as an individual? Is there an NGO like the Red Cross who can deliver the masks and other equipment?

  38. @Nils Please note in the story that medical providers are furious and frustrated at Red Cross time restrictions on money received for needed supplies in China.

  39. @Nils Sadly, nearly all of these masks and other protective items are made in China. If those factories go down, we’ll be putting wet rags over our mouths and nose.

  40. @Jackson, true but surely the supply is distributed globally. I have 50 masks at my place, for example, just in case of wildfires. ULine or Amazon probably have millions.

  41. I wonder how many doctors waiting rooms in the USA (or emergency rooms) separate waiting patients by those who have a fever and those who don’t? I wonder how the USA would cope with 15% of the infected needing to be on a ventilator / oxygen tank? I wonder whether the air conditioning systems of modern hospitals (without windows that open) would help to spread the virus? I wonder how many people in the USA would avoid seeking medical care due to the cost, until their symptoms are severe? I wonder how long it will be before the mainstream media reports upticks in viral pneumonia in US hospitals? I wonder whether Neil Ferguson from imperial college is correct that currently we are missing 2 out of every 3 Coronavirus infections in communities outside China, due to our focus on asking patients “did you travel to China recently?”

  42. What is this epidemic going to do, in countries with expensive medical care? Will millions of Americans go into bankruptcy once they're hospitalized? I have a friend who was recently three days in ICU for for snake bite, and the bill was $93,000. Are American insurance and hospital companies making contingency plans for the virus, once it arrives here?

  43. I listened to a recent interview of a major medical mask producer from Texas by the BBC Newshour. The owner stated that most of the medical masks in the US are produced by China because the cost is lower. So the reality is that there could be a shortage of supplies even in the US as factories in China now struggle with this outbreak. In Canada, for example, Edmonton, has run out of masks and sanitizing gels at the moment.

  44. @P L There are some jobs which should be kept in America, along with factories which make disease fighting drugs and equipment. Healthcare is a right not an option. Epidemics spare no one according to class or money - except those with private planes can probably run further faster, provided they leave on time. I don't know if there are private citizens in China who own private planes. If there are, we would likely not know anything about them.

  45. @P L This hideous worldwide epidemic proves that the United States should not export vital, healthcare equipment. Making lifle saving equipment such as effective masks and body suits, and effective drugs and vaccines should receive financial and political support in the United States - similar to what we did for polio (in the 40's to 60's), ebola (2008 and afterward), and HIV (1980's thru 2012). The Trump Administration has demnstrated its cruelty and stupidity by dissing this crisis and reducing the amount of federal funds available to fight global epidemics.

  46. I’d like to know what percentage of people who get infected with the coronavirus recover. Have we not seen those statistics because no one knows? When the patient gets better, they don’t tell the doctor or any authority? Another way of asking this question is, is the death rate low simply because many people are still sick and could be on their way to death? For instance, Dr. Li Wenliang appears to have had coronavirus for 5 weeks or so before he died. (I don’t have the exact dates here, but if someone else does, that would be helpful.) If it takes that long to succumb, then I wonder if the death rate is actually higher than we currently believe it is.

  47. @L Thus far, it appears that both the overall rate of infection and the rate of those who get it who die are very much underreported. But there is not reliable information coming out of China. China has resisted allowing US medical teams to observe field conditions or assist in any way, thus far.

  48. @L Such information is only available if the basic data are collected. And in the PRC currently, that is not happening. People who die at home are an example. Perhaps they were turned away from an overcrowded hospital. There are many reports of this. Or perhaps they sickened and died quickly. Regardless, crews come around and seize the bodies taking them directly to crematoriums. Have you not seen the photos of multiple children being zipped into one body bag? And the satellite images of hot spots of sulfites in China? That is an indicator of active crematoria. The images are shocking. We have only a very limited idea of the extent and death rate from COVID 19 at present.

  49. where can we donate to help? Americares??

  50. This is somewhat off topic but when I see the pictures of people in China walking around with masks on but not covering their hands with gloves, somehow I think people are not thinking. Please, please, cover your hands with a simple pair of good gloves when in public places. Railings, checkout screens, grocery carts, elevator buttons can be protected against with a simple pair of gloves. That goes for everyone in the world -- not just China.

  51. @Christine A Roux It's very difficult to put on and remove rubber gloves without contaminating your whole body. Doctors doing surgery spend about half an hour just washing their hands, etc., etc. before someone else who is wearing protecting gloves, masks, and body suits, helps them pull on two pairs of gloves which have touched nothing which has not been sterilized. All of the masks, latex or rubber gloves, etc. available at your hardware or drug store stores is amateurish compared with surgical grade masks, gloves, and body suits. Surgeons wear full face armor - stiff plastic to block any splatters to their faces. Protective medical wear could use a lot of scientific research and controlled manufacturing and use studies. I feel like a lot of our efforts are better than nothing but fall far short of being even 90% reliable. We know for example, that doctors washing their hands thoroughly at sinks in which they don't have to touch any thing (the water comes out automatically along with the soap, rinse, and drying, are the most effective way of treating patients. Yet none of the photos show sinks between very sick Covid-patients in Chinese hospitals. They don't have basic equipment to fight cross contamination in their new "hospitals." A hospital implies that there is some sort of medical treatment there under standard sanitation procedures. That is clearly not the case in these new Chinese "hospitals."

  52. @Christine A Roux -I wear gloves for work & my hands get sweaty very quickly- it’s much more effective to wash hands frequently than to wash vinyl plastic gloves, then the gloves get leaky with sweat & its a big mess! Individual wipes tucked away in a pocket or purse a the most useful on the go- quick swab with the hands & on the doorknob or elevator button should do it. Soap & water on hands is the best solution unless you want to spend your life washing out gloves or polluting the environment

  53. We Americans must somehow send the medical supplies need to China. I do not like the CCP but I have deep affection for the Chinese people. Their suffering is killing me with sadness. It is not an option to stand by and do nothing. Are there any relief efforts?

  54. Why can't China, with its huge factories, enslaved workers, dictatorial leaders, and single party control - produce enough protective equipment for its doctors. China has known about this horrendous Covid-19 virus since people started coming down with it in November. Why couldn't they run their factories night and day to produce the required protective equipment? Looks like the medical/drug system needs to be independent of the political system. Can the US or eastern Europe send protective eqipment to the Chinese doctors? This problem belongs to all of us.

  55. This is China's Chernobyl. Biological warfare weapon "accidentally" gets released and a large swath of the country dies. And given their slowness to quarantine, it seems likely they were testing the viability of global transmission of a stable evolution of the virus. Now they are proclaiming themselves victims. Who does that sound like?

  56. @Billy The Kid It's no biological weapon! They got the virus because of their "gourmet" passion for wild food.

  57. If you google "make your own surgical mask" you will come up with many simple patterns and instructions to quickly sew masks from fabric scraps. There appears to be nothing specially medical about the manufactured masks; they are just a barrier to droplets of moisture carrying viruses.

  58. @CM - Bad idea. The FFP3 level of protection required, needs to be certified. Companies like 3M and Dräger (Draeger) make them, among others. The way you know it’s a bad idea to make a youtube do-it-yourself mask is to decide to send your child through the virus infected air with the brand name or your home-made thing.

  59. @CM sterile, surgical N95 masks do not work that way... they use specialized designed filtration... using material will not keep the coronavirus out. But using material for a mask will help coronoavirus to get in, as it will localize it by your nose and mouth. Good JOB!

  60. @CM Not correct. You do not understand the scale of the organisms that must be blocked. It's a very complicated issue. But hey. Do what you want.

  61. "Some medical workers have scrambled to buy their own protective gear, begged from friends, or relied on donations." Chinese state propagandists have spent years trying to convince the world that China is a genuine superpower. Yet this tragic health crisis shows rather conclusively the utter failure of Soviet-style centralized control; that China's glamorous, glitzy coastal showcase cities are little more than Potemkin Villages; and that China's totalitarian leadership is really no different in mentality from that of the old USSR, where secrecy and sweeping things under the rug were de rigueur. China is no great power, that's for sure.

  62. Enough of the chauvinism. The Chinese are doing as well as the US would do given the conditions they face. This is a medical problem not a political contest.

  63. @David H Meanwhile, Trump is praising Hsi and cutting the money which the United States gives to the World Health Organization. Do red state voters know this?

  64. @David H - American state propagandists announce things like, "no soldiers were harmed" which really means 100 soldiers were carried off to a hospital with traumatic brain injury. Just sweep it under the rug. I have been to every ER in my city. And on at least three occasions, they were so busy they were out of rooms and my bed was in a hallway with others. I clearly remember the time they had my bed by the doctors' station and I got to listen to them try and figure out where their misplaced patient was. Go to any ER in this country and see how long you wait for a doctor. Now, imagine an extra 1,000 people showing up the same night. We couldn't handle this any better. Our government would be trying to blame it on the other party or just announce that we all have headaches and send us home.

  65. Send China tons of proper masks, gloves, detergents and protective gowns and equipment immediately after ensuring that enough are around in countries that are exporting.

  66. @Girish Kotwal - “send China”? Where in China? If you have read the articles, they have supplies, but roadblocks are preventing the supplies from getting to medical workers in the epicenter of Wuhan. People are siphoning off valuable masks and protective gear all along the line so by the time it gets to the epicenter they are left with substandard supplies. Bureaucracy and central planning may prevent “tons of proper masks” from getting to the doctors who need them. The politically powerful have a way of insulating themselves from ill winds and viruses alike.

  67. @Girish Kotwal Sorry to inform you, but the masks which we buy in America (which are only partially effective) are made in China! Hah, hah, hah, hah. As Mr. Trump says, good job President Hsi!

  68. Flood the system with effective medication. Accelerate the vaccine. What is the story about Gilead's effective antiviral medication?

  69. @Robin Foor There are no known effective vaccines. The Gilead company in the Bay Area of California has been working on drugs and vaccines for viruses. The current pandemic is about 90% similar to SARS or MERS - hard to tell - info splotchy at best. So scientists are hard at work to determine if any drugs or vaccines in their current arsenals (which have very limited supplies - because it's too expensive to make these drugs and vaccines and under normal conditions the demand for them is too low to justify great expense. We know these viruses will keep evolving so we ought to be doing research all the time, but the corona viruses evolve all the time - that's why they are so hard to treat and why there are different vaccines for the flu every year. It is a tough and constanting changing target every year. In the future, China must reduce its contacts with wild animals and quit trafficking in rare animals like the pangolin for bogus feng shui sexual performance drugs!

  70. It's a little hard to wrap my mind around this. If China can build a 1,000 bed hospital in 10 days, why can't it provide protective gear for it's doctors? If it can't manufacture them directly, doesn't China have the resources to buy them from other countries? And if, let's say, they don't have the resources, then how is the rest of the world helping?

  71. @NYTheaterGeek China is run by an authoritarian government. The government controls corporations, trade, and information. Thank goodness they are letting the WHO and other experts in to help! This virus has hit their Achilles heel. The workers are just starting to come back to work. The demand for supplies has jump exponentially just like the exponential risk of infection.

  72. The masks needed are specialized. I can believe that they are primarily made in China. It clearly demonstrates the need to diversify the manufacturing of critical medical supplies. They should be made in many countries and should become a WHO priority. Even if it means subsidizing low profit manufacturing sites. NOW...How do we help China? If you don't have the Christian ethics to "love thy neighbor as thyself" consider it a selfish endeavor of limiting the spread of a potentially dangerous virus in a very inter-connected world. For those laughing at China's misfortune, consider how well our medical system will fair with 20+million without health insurance and the most expensive medical on earth. Even if our system can cope; how many will be bankrupted with high deductible medical costs? Who is offering them immediate help? I would like to contribute?

  73. @Sharon I think for now the only way to help Chinese citizens is to buy Chinese manufactured goods, like iphones. For sure contributing to the WHO is a good way. Contributing to the Medical School at the University of Hong Kong where Dr. Gabriel Leung is helping the mainland Chinese fight COVID-19 is a good way. Hopefully Bernie Sanders will win and the US will have Nationalized Health Care instead of Nationalized Health Care extortion. The Chinese health care workers are fighting to save our lives from the risk of a deadly virus. Fight on - Thank you.

  74. @Jeff Stockwell I think nationalized healthcare is like communism (and I'm not confusing it with socialism)..... the issue is that both communism or strict socialism is great on paper... but when it comes to being put into practice, we need modified capitalism. People will not go in there and risk their lives unless there is a financial incentive (entrepreneurs, I laugh)... Delivery of the needed supplies is caught up in so much delays and snatching, it's just horrible. It looks to me like their society is disintegrating, and yes, as someone else says, soon the hospitals will fail. You can't force doctors and nurses to continue to come to work in unsafe and hideous conditions. Sanders will never win US, because his cult isn't strong enough to beat Trumps cult (which is why trump is giving him support). And to overcome the status quo of the average, normal non-radicalized voter. I'm a democrat, and Sanders is attempting too much change all at once. Ever if he did happened to get elected, he would never get anything through congress, he's not a unifier, and he's very unpopular with other lawmakers. Sanders was a vote spoiler in 2016 and we are unfortunately repeating 2016 for 2020, except without Hillary.

  75. @Jeff Stockwell , supply lines are shutting down, at least for now. Hyundai in Korea can’t get car parts from China. Apple factories are in large part closed in China. I expect prices to soar shortly and possible shortages of products. So there are some non-altruistic reasons to buy soon—especially electronics and durable goods.

  76. where is Mr. Bezos and all ..masks in lieu of another yacht etc......perhaps they might all chip in ? lesson their "burden"?

  77. @ss don't forget the Gates' too. Warren Buffet, so many.... Gates have sworn to donate $100k I believe it is...

  78. that was the "and all' inference !!! (hastily written !!)

  79. @ss there is no shortage of money from Chinese people or government to take care of this. There are many many Chinese Billionaires to step in behind that. The idea that wealthy Americans need to step in is quite the Colonialist mentality. I suppose being reliant on centrally planned system isn’t ideal.

  80. From the Taipei Times: Using a rice cooker to “dry steam” surgical masks for three minutes can have a sterilizing effect, an experiment by Chung Shan Medical University Department of Occupational Safety and Health associate professor Lai Chane-yu (賴全裕) and his team showed. However, after dry steaming, the mask would have a lower filter efficiency compared with new masks, Lai said on Monday, adding that the method should only be considered if there is an insufficient supply of masks or they need to be reused in an emergency. The team conducted several tests for cleaning N95 respirators, and found that a 70 percent alcohol solution, bleach, high-pressure sterilization and rice cooker were all effective sterilization methods, Lai said.

  81. @Charlie In Taiwan Just don't cook rice in it too.

  82. It is in our best interest to help China. What are we waiting for?

  83. China has refused our repeated offers of assistance.

  84. Hard to believe China is incapable of drop-shipping medical supplies from one province to another. Western Allies were able to support Berlin for 323 days with nothing but air transport and no helicopters. You're telling me China is struggling to get medical supplies from factory to hospital within their own nation due to provincial interference? I'm a bit incredulous. Anyway, the article still doesn't answer my original question: How many medical workers are infected compared to the overall medical staff? That's our metric. Comparing medical workers to confirmed infections is useful if you want to make comparisons to SARS. Is CONVID-19 much more dangerous to medical workers than SARS? That's useful information. However, that's not the question we're asking right now. We're asking: How close is China's medical infrastructure to complete failure? When do medical workers start bolting for the doors? They will eventually. You can't pay someone to mop-up diseased bed pans without offering a reasonable chance of survival. They are going to quit. That or they will burnout and/or die. Either way, you have a problem. You can't replace doctors overnight. Well, the entire ship ceases to function anyway if the Captain is the only person left on board. I want to know employment statistics specific to medical employees in Hubei and Wuhan. How many workers are out sick? What's the turn rate? How's morale doing? And so on. You can't contain the virus if people won't go to work.

  85. @Andy You clearly don't know how it works in china. If those workers bolt for the door as you say they will be killed. Plain and simple.

  86. @Andy During the US air drop to support Berlin - which was isolated in East Germany, an Allies plane left every 70 sedond or so to resupply the city. Think of that! We probably couldn't do that today. Could we air drop medically safe equipment to WUhan, for example, with permission of the Chinese government? Does the Cinese government really care if a lot of its citizens die? They are more worried about protecting their leaders than their citizens undergoing this nightmare corona virus COVID-19/

  87. @John Stay, work, die. Leave, don't work, maybe live. Yeah, medical workers are going to bolt eventually. What is the Chinese government going to do? Stick them in a room with a bunch of sick people? We need to know the staff infection rate. Speculation: I'm going to guess anything above 30 percent is going to trigger a negative feedback cycle where most workers just stop showing up to work. That's my unscientific mathematical assessment.

  88. The sad thing is that since China is a totalitarian dictatorship we can not trust any figures about the virus that they produce. And the Chinese Government than accuses counties like Australia for overreacting. Sorry China you have blown it in the biggest possible way...people have zero trust in anything you say. A wake up call for the rest of the world. Xi is on borrowed time.

  89. @neb - Can we trust American figures any better? About a month or so ago, there was a missile strike in Iraq that sent 100 soldiers to the hospital with traumatic brain injury. The official report from our "Xi" ? "No soldiers were harmed".

  90. @tom harrison I think that we can.....however I do take your point. It is basically a matter of degree. To say that Western Governments are just the same as China in covering up is false equivalence. That is all that China does....censor any divergent view. As bad as the US, Aust, Britian governments could be there is a public domain that leaders and their policies are extensively criticized. Therefor our governments could not carry out the same cover up that we are seeing in China. This is all they do therefore no belief any any of their stats could be justified.

  91. Nice of you to gloat. Would love to see your follow up quote in 10 weeks time,when the dysfunctional US medical infrastructure is strained to near collapse .

  92. Becoming a doctor or nurse is not the same as swearing an oath to commit suicide. Neither is it a promise to offer up your own children and other loved ones at home for slaughter. If adequate resources are not available and it is dangerous to work, doctors and nurses should refuse to work.

  93. And let people die and let the virus spread? They are fighting for the survival of the city with what they have. You fight a war with what you have, not what you should have ideally. It’s a war, some people will die, people try to do whatever they can to minimize the casualty, even that means some increased risk to themselves. This is a war.

  94. @Yue L If you believe so strongly that nurses and doctors, frontline workers, should work while lacking equipment, you should go and try it. I have been in a variety of epidemics, large and small throughout my career, both here in the USA and abroad. Managed to never catch anything, thankfully. The key? frequent handwashing.

  95. Nope. We took an oath. For most of us that means something.

  96. Most people you see are wearing the wrong type of mask to strongly protect against airborne viruses. One needs the so-called FFP3 Respirator Valved Mask at a minimum to ward off most viruses to 99%. These typical surgical masks one always sees are not good enough. One of the “bonuses” of the FFP3 mask is it’s harder to breathe through them. During the day you’ll get by but at night, example, on a ship—where you wear it all the time, even when sleeping, its difficult. Add to that, one has to change the mask often and not touch the outer fabric which could be contaminated. That, my newspaper friends, is a hardship! I had some similar experience with the U.S. Army Pro Gas Mask of the 1990s. Trying to sleep during a Saudi Arabian dust storm was pretty near impossible because the human resting breathing rate is not acclimated to the extra breathing effort required. So, if masks are sent, they need to be good ones.

  97. Why doesn't WHO just go ahead and help out proactively by sending masks, gloves etc? This is a global crisis and its the humanitarian right thing to do. Why didn't they immediately do this?

  98. Gee, why haven't they? China is also running low on the chemicals need for the virus test. Yet, no offers of medical supplies have been made by the US, Japan or Europe. Why doesn't the NYT run a critical headline demanding assistance for China? Instead all the NYT wants to do is pounce on every perceived abuse, failure or shortcoming by the Chinese. Not one article about the heroic efforts by ordinary people and health care workers.

  99. @Nina Trump just cut funding to WHO by half.

  100. The new 1,000 bed hospital in Wuhan was an impressive construction project, but it was obvious from the photos that the handwashing stations were few and far between. The top photo of this story is also very impressive - lots of high tech machinery and everyone is special outfits. But I count six patients side-by-side and not one sink to be seen. I am an American RN and I also have an RN license in an Asian country where I teach nursing. This is very typical of hospital construction in that region. Just because the place where the put the patients in China is called a hospital does not mean that they follow the same standards as American hospitals do.

  101. @Joe Any photos released by the Chinese are carefully chosen. Yet, as you claim, those photos may reveal possible shortcomings. Facilities the photos of which do not appear usually are at completely different levels. Completely overwhelmed. Did you read that late stage cancer patients are kicked out of hospitals and deprived of treatment, mostly pain control?

  102. Can you help me understand if frequent washing is required when gloves are always used? I don’t believe there’s much they do without medical gloves. I’d imagine that they wash hands first coming in from outside then put on gloves. After that, other than the once a day break they get and the rest room breaks, how often do they need to wash?

  103. @Yue L As a retired RN, yes. Frequent handwashing using correct technique with soap and water is required. Gloves should be used for one patient only and then discarded. Hands are washed between patient contacts. If you keep the same pair of gloves on your hands for multiple patients you are carrying infected material from person to person and innoculating them with organisms.

  104. China needs to pour funds and resources into affected areas and into containment—now. The wealthy and the government itself have immense economic power. Use it on this; fail in this and China will lose much more—we all will.

  105. Here in Hawaii, we have no cases of the virus. Yet, there is a run on masks. I visited a home improvement store this morning that had a sign up, which indicated that they had masks, but sales of these would be limited. I'm wondering if there might be persons who are going around buying large volumes, and then sending them to China, or wherever, at a handsome profit.

  106. Actually, you had a visitor from Japan who vacationed in two different parts of Hawaii for two weeks. During the second week, he became ill. At the end of the second week he flew back to Japan and is being cared for there. So, Hawaii has had significant exposure to someone with active COVID-19. So has everyone on the plane between Hawaii and Japan.

  107. Take a good, long look at what us happening in China. When there is ONE person, our government entity in control of distributing resources and setting priorities, this is what happens. They will give or not give resources as they see fit and according to the rules that they make. Does Medicare for All,with no choice of private options, still sound like a great idea?

  108. @Lyn Robins A lot of the problem involves transportation.

  109. @Lyn Robins What’s happening in China has nothing to do with Medicare for All and the parallel you try to draw between the CCP government and a possible public health care system in the USA is ridiculous. Anyhow to answer your question, I’m sure Medicare for All sounds great to the 15%+ of the USA population who don’t have any health insurance but they are poor so they don’t matter in the “home of the brave”.

  110. @Lyn Robins - I have Medicare and its wonderful. I have never been turned away because of it. I wish every American had it.

  111. The manufacturers of APPROPRIATE coronavirus protective masks should be working 24/7. Once this takes hold here, every American will be searching for one.

  112. There are also other than medical costs and repercussions of Covid-19 epidemic.Whole world is dependent on goods manufactured in China .Recent Swine fever in China rases concern about supply of essential drug called heparin, now we have novel coronavirus infection disturbing production of most of the goods including medications and medical supplies.Clearly outsourcing majority of production to one (totalitarian)country by the rest of the world is not a smart idea.Whichever way is this epidemic going to develop, one might hope that the world is going to reevaluate current manufacturing system and spread production into different countries and regions.

  113. China is a country which should be able to accomplish three things: marshal resources to manufacture medical supplies and accept assistance from other countries and prohibit behavior which spreads the disease.

  114. It must be a very frightening situation for the Chinese people. I hope that we're learning where our weaknesses against such an outbreak are here. Prepare now.

  115. @Gina Our weakness is that the is no national department of health. Rather, every state has one. Consequently when plague breaks out we will close down state borders, and there is nothing to prevent a State from commandeering supplies that are just passing through on a truck to another state. In other words, it turns into state by state anarchy.

  116. @Gina, Bull Gates wrotevthis Op-Ed in 2015 during the Ebola outbreak. He says the world is not prepared for a pandemic. I doubt we're better prepared today. The failure of the United States and other world leaders to address this issue, along with climate change, is hard to fathom.

  117. @Bill ummmmm.... CDC NIH, both national organizations

  118. This is Communist China, where people, including the caregivers, are allowed to die rather than admit it needs help.

  119. We will find out in a couple of weeks, what our healthcare system can withstand concerning the Coronavirus; the virus can take up to 24 days to present itself. COVID19 is a worldwide pandemic. It doesn't matter where it originated, and we will probably all know people who will die from this virus. Wear any kind of mask when you're out. It will keep you from touching your mouth, eyes and nose and wash your hand before and after putting it on and wash and over and over.

  120. Don’t need those Western Louis Vuitton bags or the casinos which the Chinese government makes over ten billion a year. What you need is an honest and efficient medical system. Where are all the Chinese billionaires and why don’t they finance additional help.

  121. Will China please hire the experts from NYC to takeover. China seems incompetent and they are not even sure how to discuss all the Chinese that are at home who are sick who have not gotten medical help or service. Establish a 311 number or a website so all those infected or who feel ill can contact the website so we can all have a grasp to the size of the problem. How do we know that it is not in the millions . China has a 4 trillion surplus and where are all the Chinese billionaires and why are they not giving financial aid to each and every family that is enduring hardship. Let’s stop talking about donating in the future and start right now. Chinese billionaires help your fellows out.

  122. @Ralph Petrillo I would like to suggest that NYC would not have enough supplies or resources; that the disease would spread to thousands; that there would be no plans for how to care for patients once hospitals are full; that there would not be enough of health care providers to offer care; and that it would be difficult to find a place for the dead. No billionaire here or in China would be able to help and this late date. It requires thoughtful planning for the future and funding through our tax dollars.

  123. I have already dispelled your misinformed comments before - as of yesterday, Chinese citizens have donated US$1.5 Billion cash to Hubei alone. (RMB 10.8 billion) Not to doubt their expertise, but US experts wouldn’t perform any better on the ground in China. language differences, lack of local knowledge to name just 2 reasons why. If anything, they might hinder the efforts, imagine the Chinese would then need to supply translators and explain to them about the local situation, when during this time their time is money.

  124. @Ralph Petrillo Too little too late.

  125. It would be an understatement to say that China is not a place where one wants to get sick. The country’s government calls its actions something akin to ‘wartime’ yet they have not armed their protectors with the necessary weapons to battle a virus. The average Chinese citizen has every right to be angry. Lord knows, a lot of us outside of China are getting angrier with each passing day.

  126. I think if you look at just the NYT reporting, it’d be easy to get the conclusion that you drew in your comment. But China has been in overdrive to produce, equip, and support the medical workers. A lot of manufacturers have modified their production lines to able to produce masks. Several automotive factories are now making masks Masks are consumables and doctors need 4 per day (recommended usage is to change mask every four hours). Multiply that with tens of thousands doctors, not to mention the billions of citizen that also need masks. That explains the shortage. Also, once a N95 mask is produced, it takes 14 days of observation period to pass inspection.

  127. @Peter Just wondering ... so Phoenix (and America) would be a better place to get sick .. together with your fellow 10,000s of Phoenicians? Don't get angry, but show some compassion and try to help them. Cheers.

  128. Big Government is inevitably inefficient, usually corrupt, and mostly wants to protect and expand it's power. History is clear. Beware big government

  129. What is going to happen if it takes hold here? How would we deal with the homeless? Better than we do when the are on the streets? How many hospital beds to we have? Or only for those with insurance? Not to understate the free press, worlds best science, democracy, the lack of a totalitarian mosterous regime, and the CDC, etc etc but in many respects we would be no better off.

  130. Reminds one of Camus ‘The Plague’

  131. This is a serious question and not intended to try to be funny. Not at all! Maybe an infectious disease expert can answer. But what if the virus was just allowed to run its course throughout the world, with continual detailed information to everyone about preventive self-protection and about self care at home if someone becomes ill. The world is NOT going to be able to isolate and quarantine everyone, as has been done with cruise ships, for example. There seems to be a reliance on "putting people away" somewhere rather than describing to everyone the best way to handle this. Hospitals would not be able to manage everyone coming in with symptoms. I understand there will/would be deaths but would money and time be better spent educating people with stories and ads on how to prevent and self treat this illness? This post will sound shallow and foolish to some of you but I'm completely serious.

  132. @HotGumption It is a fair question. There is no treatment and there is no vaccine. So far it is 20 times as lethal as the flu and is much more infectious. I think the fear in the worst case is that if we did nothing it would kill 40-50 million people — or more — similar to the Spanish flu epidemic in the early 1900s.

  133. I suspect this is exactly what will happen—the virus will run its course “throughout” the world, regardless of international attempts to stop its spread. As still so little is known about this disease, its continued expansion seems inevitable to me. It’s a global six-degrees-of-separation scenario. Regardless, I believe “money and time” should be spent on both continuing to treat AND educating people.

  134. @HotGumption there is no way to self treat pneumonia or the severe respiratory issues an estimated 20% of those with this virus face. Medicine, breathing assistance, ICU stays will be required.

  135. Can we not drop supplies in from planes and helicopters? One should not have to expose drivers, or deal with checkpoints and road blocks. Protective gear should be coming from all over, delivered by drone if necessary.

  136. @ARNP Is China still a 3rd world country?

  137. I wish any US city would handle this better, even with only one thousand patients. They are dealing with sudden surge of incoming patients infected with unknown virus. Show some respect for those medical professionals.

  138. @E Wang China can’t think for itself but it responds readily to the orders from others.

  139. @E Wang Hello E Wang. This is the normal reaction by arrogant people who think they could do better than other people who don't look like them ... i.e. homophobes. They don't show compassion; always wishing ill to others.

  140. How is it that an industrial powerhouse like China can't supply protective equipment to front-line medics fighting this epidemic? How can they claim to build a hospital in 10 days but not be able to supply masks, gloves and gowns in time? Is this a failure of the CCP's top-down management style? Something is rotten in the state of Hubei.

  141. @RLW See: Potemkin Village.

  142. Masks are consumables and doctors need 4 per day (recommended usage is to change mask every four hours). Multiply that with tens of thousands doctors, not to mention the billions of citizen that also need masks. That explains the shortage Also, once a N95 mask is produced, it takes 14 days of observation period to pass inspection.

  143. The people in Wuhan are under attack, and the medical workers are the sole humanitarians. This crises is much like Syria only that the risks to the global community are greater. The problem now is that China is the country that makes medical supplies. Diversification of manufacturing is the lesson. Maybe supplies could be air dropped in? The patients need help but the helpers are becoming patients. The Chinese people are paying the price for having an authoritarian government that is skewed by corruption.

  144. @Jeff Stockwell - I had a similar thought- supplies could be air dropped in by drones.

  145. China is remarkably efficient in production, but its distribution systems are crippled by draconian communist policy. Imagine being so close to water, but unable to drink because there is a red barrier in front of it. The communist party do not seem to understand that the barrier that is making them fail at this and their economic endeavours is their control over the voices of its people. Free communication will open up networks that allow for local and national actors to release the bottle necks stopping medical professionals from receiving masks. It will be messy, opening up communications networks, which is probably the most intolerable aspect of the process. But, it does not mean the country would lose cohesion. It does not mean the government would no longer be centralised either; as clearly parts of the centralised system work well for China. The communist party no doubt want China to be successful and prosperous, but they are at a bottleneck in its development, and the next step is freedom of speech. That's the reality that they will have to face. But, until then, many of their citizens and medical professionals will die needlessly.

  146. The best mask to use would be a Powered Air Respirator with a p100 filter. Fit issues are not a problem since it surrounds the entire head. It also does not allow you to touch your face with your hands. The only downside is that it requires batteries but lithium ion batteries last a long time and could be carried with the user. If the crew on the ship wore these while distributing the food then no one would have caught the virus. They are expensive and used in welding and other manufacturing processes but should be readily available. 3M should be sending these to the infected areas for people to use.

  147. @realist Surely China has knocked off this product and can produce it for themselves.

  148. I had to go to my primary care physician's office yesterday. It's the height of flu season, so I circled the parking lot a few times before I found a parking place. Then I went into the lobby and queued up in a line of 10 people waiting to check in while five different intake receptionists registered patients. Eventually I registered and was called back into the exam room, where I waited a half an hour before my physician came in. Mind you, this was a 10am morning appointment, and she was already running behind by a half hour. During my appointment, she disclosed to me that she's been working until 8pm each evening just to keep up with patient follow up and medical notes. All of this is just a very roundabout way for me to illustrate that if we snicker at and look down upon the Chinese for their equipment shortages during this crisis, do not - for an instant - assume that we can do it so much better here in the United States. If this virus gets a toehold here and begins to spread widely, rest assured that we will confront the same dire (and embarrassing?) problems here. Especially under this dysfunctional administration. China is a cautionary tale and we'd all do well to show some empathy and learn.

  149. @Sarah Well said. NYT just published a report couple days ago in San Diego military base in which several hundred people are in quarantine. Three patients are transferred back to the base from the hospital after being clear from a negative coronavirus test. It turned out the diagnostic test were never performed because of a mislabel. One of the three patients is turned out to be positive CDC announced several days ago that the diagnostic coronavirus kit being sent to many states throughout the country as well as over 30 countries in the world were flaw. Imagine, all these human errors can occur in a almost routine, non urgent situation in which US has 15 confirmed Covid-19 cases. Imagine again, in Wuhan China epicenter where 60 millions people are in lock down in Hubei province. There are over 64,000 confirmed cases and over 1300 deaths as of today. This epidemic will stress and test any healthcare system to the limit that any country can organize. Yes, be empathetic. You have my deep respect and gratitude to all the front line healthcare professionals for your selfless and tireless action to take care of the sick patients. The world is in solidarity with you and your efforts.

  150. @ Sarah Well said. NYT just published a report couple days ago in San Diego military base in which several hundred people are in quarantine. Three patients are transferred back to the base from the hospital after being clear from a negative coronavirus test. It turned out the diagnostic test were never performed because of a mislabel. One of the three patients is turned out to be positive CDC announced several days ago that the diagnostic coronavirus kit being sent to many states throughout the country as well as over 30 countries in the world were flaw. Imagine, all these human errors can occur in a almost routine, non urgent situation in which US has 15 confirmed Covid-19 cases. Imagine again, in Wuhan China epicenter where 60 millions people are in lock down in Hubei province. There are over 64,000 confirmed cases and over 1300 deaths as of today. This epidemic will stress and test any healthcare system to the limit that any country can organize. Yes, be empathetic. You have my deep respect and gratitude to all the front line healthcare professionals for your selfless and tireless action to take care of the sick patients. The world is in solidarity with you and your efforts.

  151. @Sarah According to Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Laurie Garrett, who has covered many emerging disease epidemics, the WHO experts think the Chinese government is doing a pretty good job. (This NYT story seems to be awfully negative.) The Trump administration, however, has destroyed our ability to deal with such an epidemic, as part of his campaign to destroy everything Obama. Trump Has Sabotaged America’s Coronavirus Response As it improvises its way through a public health crisis, the United States has never been less prepared for a pandemic. By Laurie Garrett Foreign Policy January 31, 2020 In the spring of 2018, the White House pushed Congress to cut funding for Obama-era disease security programs... other White House efforts included reducing $15 billion in national health spending and cutting the global disease-fighting operational budgets of the CDC, NSC, DHS, and HHS. And the government’s $30 million Complex Crises Fund was eliminated. In May 2018, Trump ordered the NSC’s entire global health security unit shut down... White House National Security Advisor John Bolton pressured Ziemer’s DHS counterpart, Tom Bossert, to resign along with his team.... The global health section of the CDC was so drastically cut in 2018 that much of its staff was laid off and the number of countries it was working in was reduced from 49 to merely 10...

  152. The article begs the question: Where is the protective equipment used by healthcare workers in North America manufactured?

  153. @Luc I believe most are made in China.

  154. @Schimsa - Bingo.

  155. China.

  156. This is so heartbreaking. I have an old friend who is currently working ICU in a major hospital in Wuhan. I've been trying to find a way get supplies to her, but all package delivery routes I could think of are either subject to interceptions or indefinite delays. As reporters covering exactly this issue on the ground, can you think of ways for family and friends abroad can circumvent this nonsense and get supplies directly into the hands of first line medical personnel?

  157. @Jojo The United States needs to step up and help.

  158. @Jojo Can't things be airdropped by drones? Can't we produce masks here in the US to help? Or has Trump defunded anything like this in favor of a wall?

  159. It's human nature to ignore risks that seem distant, but in a risk analysis you assess not just the likeliness of an event but also the impact. In my opinion the likelihood of a pandemic that either starts or reaches the U.S. fall somewhere around 4 on a scale with 5 being Never. The numeric value for impact would depend wholly on our ability to respond. I used to think that we would probably never fall below the medium in such an event but now I'm not so sure. The CDC needs to be well funded and we need a wholesale review of our process and resources. We have to have ready masks, testing kits, methods of communication, quarantine spaces, and most importantly, adequate personnel. While unlikely, we have to be prepared. The result of what would happen if we are not is unthinkable.

  160. @Sparkly Violet - Didn’t Trump defund the public health emergency response agency in the US federal budget?

  161. @Sparkly Violet You are so right. For those of us who made health care our life profession we have seen the lack of resources and the need for the CDC to be adequately funded for the day a pandemic affects us in an overwhelming way. We are able to walk into sparkling clean hospitals and clinics and see what seems to be efficiency and abundance but a pandemic would soon show us we do not have the resources or plans to manage. When one works on the ground in health institutions it is easy see how lacking we are.

  162. If the newly-christened COVID-19 virus becomes more virulent, spreads rapidly in the United States and makes hundreds of thousands of people critically ill, few cities would have sufficient in-patient facilities to care for them. In addition, millions of people in this country are uninsured. Hospitals rarely admit uninsured patients so thousands would die. An epidemic would show the world how well the lack of universal health care in this country works.

  163. @Marty Feinstein what you say is simply not true.

  164. @J. Shepherd It certainly is true. Read the hx of our few ebola patients a few years ago when our own nurses were put at risk for contraction of the disease and death.

  165. @Marty Feinstein While I agree with most of your comment (particularly the lack of inpatient beds should a pandemic hit the US), your claim that ‘hospitals rarely admit uninsured patients’ is patently false. Ability to pay does not factor into the decision to admit.

  166. The COVID19 outbreak in China is a warning to the world that something very nasty and dangerous is coming in our direction. This is an international public health emergency and it is to the benefit of the world to assist China in securing the resources and personnel necessary to effectively address the issue. The the world should act now, in order to prevent the chaos and danger in China from engulfing other nations. We only know about the situation in China because the government of that nation is giving access to western journalist. How long will access continue?

  167. Ironic when you consider where the masks are made.

  168. @Scott you mean, they're mostly made in Taiwan? And they're flaunting their independence and banned all mask exports to China recently.

  169. Masks are consumables and doctors need 4 per day (recommended usage is to change mask every four hours). Multiply that with tens of thousands doctors, not to mention the billions of citizen that also need masks. That explains the shortage Also, once a N95 mask is produced, it takes 14 days of observation period to pass inspection.

  170. @Scott Who would be able to produce 8 and one half billion masks a day?

  171. It's China's version but it's Medicare for All.

  172. @blgreenie , if the patients were being turned away for lack of insurance, how would that be? If they were billed a hundred thousand each for intensive care, would that be better? If a medicine were found that helped, what do you think pharma corporations would want per dose? Sneer at Medicaid for all, but private profiteers can’t prevent the spread of a virus, either. If billions were in it, would they even want to? They’d rather make ED money than find vaccines now. The day a pandemic hits here, you’ll have some grounds for comparison.

  173. @blgreenie It’s a massive epidemic not a government medical program. Do you really think the current American healthcare system could handle Hurricane Influenza any better? Just remember our response to Katrina.

  174. @jb Hardly a time to get on a soapbox. People are struggling to stay alive. Keep politics out of it.

  175. Not to alarm people but China produces 97 percent of all antibiotics and 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients needed to produce drugs in the United States. How was this allowed to happen and why is nobody talking about it. It’s truly criminal, and I mean that literally. If Trump was the true patriot he claims to be he would be tweeting about this right now and in the phone to get the drugs manufactured in the United States like they should be, as they are a matter of life and death.

  176. @Lonnie My wife with advanced stage 4 Parkinson's needs life saving drugs. I put out for her 275 pills a week for her as her carepartner 6 of the 8 medicines she needs to move,stand or eat or sleep with demetia even make her able to pass bowel movement (PD is a muscular disease ) are made in China the other 2 are made in India . We American's will pay for this idea to make drugs "cheaper" abroad especially generics. I have anxiety great about this fact that may have us die if Covid 19 takes off that we will have no medicines here as there will be no Chinese workers to produce our drugs and yes, syringes and drip tubing and medical care electronics. Where is anyone from our Government addressing this possibility.

  177. @Lonnie It is called corporate greed. The outsourcing of jobs to cheaper labor markets started with manufacturing jobs at first and it has progressed to white-color jobs. The shortage of medical equipment is partly due to the fact that a lot of factories in China are not running at full capacity due to the spread of Coronavirus. Let's hope that the spread of Coronavirus can be contained.

  178. @Carlyle T. India and Israel can also make large quantities don't worry. Also 3D printing of chemical compounds will become routine. :)

  179. China makes thousands of millions of inexpensive products. Surely they can make enough masks to serve their needs.

  180. President Trump is right on top of the case in cutting funds for CDC in his budget. Building a wall between us and Mexico and cutting military defense funds are his higher priorities.

  181. @JerryV Every administration since Regan has cut the CDC and other public health resources. If our country developed this type of crisis we would not be able to handle it any better than China.

  182. When are the Editors of the NYT going to finally realize that this Comments section is advancing misinformation, racism, outright lies and deliberate fear mongering? Editors, you are playing right into the hands of the internet's worst right wing trolls. Why?

  183. Surprise, surprise.......over the last three decades the USA creates the second largest global economy by sending most of our manufacturing to them in a culture of USA greed and leaving USA workers behind, but under the hood they are still a ly, third world country. Sadly, I hope the coronavirus wakes up the Chinese people, but also the entire world how ridiculous communism is

  184. what are we waiting for. send them masks now.

  185. @sbanicki The masks sold in the US are made in China.

  186. China manufactures most of the masks

  187. It is a pity Wee Sui-Lee didn’t report on the advice given by the Prime Minister of Singapore to contain the Covid-19 contagion. I am sure there would be plenty to say about the unorthodox recommendation that people with mild symptoms of the infection should not go to the hospital but stay at home. He was in fact telling all GP Doctors not to send people with mild symptoms to them hospital. It is shocking to say the least. This is the ultimate recipe for making the contagion worse. All the family members would be infected, considering the infection is highly contagious, as the Prime Minister himself had pointed out. Source: (

  188. It seems that the USA's State Department is also engaged in a cover-up regarding the critical matter of the Virus Hostages being detained in a toxic prison on the Diamond Princess. We need to intervene immediately on behalf of North Americans who are in peril in Japan. Why not a Navy hospital ship?

  189. I deeply feel for the medical staff! They are the real frontliners of this horrific fight. RESPECT

  190. We need to act to get the Chinese whatever they need to fight this virus now. We can figure out who to blame and how this happened later.

  191. Isn't there a government run chemical or bio research lab in Wuhan? I would call the 1981 Dean Koontz novel, "The Eyes of Darkness" and the Wuhan-400 virus he described in 1981 quite a coincidence. Or prophesy!

  192. Medical supplies like masks: why is there a shortage here? Where are they located throughout the world. Where are the factories; what is their inventories and capacities? Computers--these questions should be answered in a matter of hours and immediate supplies on their way. Why hasn't this happened?

  193. How the virus travels in the air Donald Milton, MD, a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland, helped prove via the use of his Gesundheit machine that influenza could be spread via aerosol transmission. He said he is in contact with colleagues in Singapore who are attempting to study the transmission of the COVID-19 viruses, which are often called nCoV, for novel coronavirus. Though Chinese officials said earlier this week that they believe the coronavirus is transmitted only via droplets, implying they do not believe airborne or contact transmission plays a role... "To me this sounds like someone trying to deal with panic, because people panic when they hear airborne transmission and long-distance transmission," he said. He said there has been scientific evidence of aerosol transmission of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus), so it is likely possible for this novel coronavirus, as well. "You cannot tell the difference epidemiologically between something aerosol transmitted by weak sources and large droplet spray," said Milton. "They behave so similar, it's very hard to pick up the difference."

  194. Droplets ARE airborne transmission. A cough, sneeze or even breathing is the source of contaminated droplets from the respiratory passages of an infected person which is breathed into the lungs of those nearby.

  195. @Herne so you are saying you didn't read the passage nor bothered to read the 1000 word article.

  196. This is the balance of nature. Many will die.

  197. @JoAnne Very reassuring. I hope you have the same stoicism when the virus reaches Georgia.

  198. Let's make it as few as possible. Today we all should be "Chinese " and help

  199. @Zobar A modest proposal.

  200. These medical workers are heroes. Can't our country send masks?

  201. @KTT I was just thinking how could we personally gather supplies and send to a neighboring country to China who has connects to get the supplies there

  202. The Chinese “People’s War” would be better waged against the Chinese Communist Party, not against the Coronavirus. Get rid of the oppressive government and the people will more effectively rule themselves and solve their own problems.

  203. we should be helping them now, but debating philosophies or anything else.

  204. This is not the time for a "political" approach.

  205. This "is no time to be fighting China. We should be helping them and thus helping ourselves.

  206. Perhaps if they take some tariffs off the table.

  207. @Bill That’s was not a nice thing to say. We may disagree with Chinese government for various reasons but can still choose to respond in a humane and kind way to help out fellow human beings.

  208. @Bill That’s not a nice thing to say. We may disagree with the Chinese government for various reasons but can still choose to respond in a humane and kind way to help out our fellow human beings.

  209. This is no time to be negotiating tariffs. Help them now.

  210. Coronavirus has shown that apart from major cities China is still a Third World country.

  211. @BWCA China definitely is still a developing country, outside the 4 mega-cities. We forget that often, and criticize China unfairly using rich world standards. At GDP per capita of $9,000, it is a long way from rich. It's GDP per capita is comparable to Brazil's. Our criticisms of China for not doing enough to respond to the coronavirus epidemic are rather unfair. Their efforts have been impressive even if they weren't sufficiently transparent initially. We should give credit where it is due.

  212. @Donna Meyer I wasn’t being unfair to China. I was pointing the truth about China. Interestingly you compared China with Brazil because I am originally from Brazil and I can tell you the main problem with China isn’t its ability to handle the epidemic, but it’s dictatorship and control of information. There is no credible information on the number of infected people or the number of deaths. It’s all government controlled to make a bleak picture look pretty, if that’s possible. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press is paramount to control the coronavirus. As long as China disappears with independently people that report on the health crisis, the crisis will never be resolved.

  213. @BWCA : Can you expound on that? How so?

  214. Why aren't we helping China more? Are we waiting for the virus to settle in the United States? This virus knows no political or philosophical boundaries and neither should the world in fighting it.

  215. @sbanicki Well, for starters, China could have been fully transparent with the WHO initially. Instead of silencing doctors first encountering the virus in patients, early involvement of the WHO might have prevented or slowed the wide spread of the virus. Nothing being communicated from China can be taken at face value. It's difficult to assess what help is necessary on that basis.

  216. There is a greater downside to do nothing to help.

  217. We have repeatedly offered a CDC team to China and said offer has been rebuffed. Ask China why it doesn’t seem to want outside help (and observation) in the face of an epidemic.

  218. Do we know if anyone, anywhere has recovered and, if so, are they then immune from the virus? These would certainly be important data that we could learn from moving forward!

  219. @Barbara yes, patients recover. Death rate doesn't appear far from influenza according to a chart published in this newspaper a week or two ago. But, it's a virus that is new to humans, only the people who have recovered have an immunity. We don't have a vaccine.

  220. Speaking of N95 rated respirator masks: it's impossible to find a vendor who's able to ship these online anymore. I have an order pending that will not be fulfilled before April 30. Shelves in my local Home Depot and Lowe's are empty too and these stores are rationing sales per customer. I doubt the US and other western countries will be able to meet demand for N95 rated masks or better either once there is an epidemic.

  221. Not just masks. Has any US City got several thousand empty hospital beds which can be isolated from other patients? Do they have spare critical care units with trained staff to handle elderly patients with underlying health problems struggling to breathe?

  222. @Tobias W. I finally found some N95 masks, but they were the last ones on the shelves. Now might be a good time for you to get a few.

  223. @Tobias W. You are absolutely correct.

  224. The photo at the top is of very, very ill people. I am not able to judge but I am impressed with the medical equipment and devices that I see in great number in this intensive care unit, isolated from the hospital. From what I see, the shortages described here will likely be brief, China is capable of producing medical supplies and in great volume although overcome with the vast demands of this epidemic.

  225. This is a very tiny virus, but I see no reason why these medical materials cannot be sterilized and recycled once to allow the manufacturing of them to catch up to demand. Also, I think the self made mask especially with many layers of material possibly activated charcoal would be any less effective than ear loop surgical masks or ones intended for paint dust (N95) which have huge holes in them compared to the virus.

  226. Let’s leave it to the professionals to determine what’s suitable gear for those on the front line

  227. @Kirk I suppose you could use ionizing radiation, but the set up is a big cost sink, much less than manufacturing and better logistical delivery. Seriously, they can't autoclave them, or soak them in bleach.

  228. The International Rescue Committee and The International Red Cross may be accepting donations for this emergency appeal, and perhaps Conavid-19 now confirmed by The World Health Organization as a global emergency, should be deemed a universal infection. Remembering Dr. Li who died earlier this week, only in his thirties, and trying to do the right thing.

  229. We don't have to think back to far to remember the many struggles and mistakes our country and hospitals with ebola; placing health care workers close to exposure and death. We need to locate our resources and have a nationwide detailed plan for our next medical emergency. And we need to send every piece of equipment, medicine and medical supplies to China. We must help one another in this way.

  230. @Grace - I agree we need to do more to help China. As diseases do not respect borders. There will come a time when the USA will be hit with a disaster such as China is now experiencing with COVID-19. At the moment it is very hard to find face masks in the USA. We should make sure that we retain the capability to manufacture certain items here in the USA such as face masks, sterile gowns along with other daily use once medical items here at home encase there is a pandemic that causes serious interruptions international commerce to the point that we are unable to acquire raw materials or finish goods. Here is an exciting development in combating the deadly disease, officially known as COVID-19 Remdesivir China testing anti-Ebola drug against coronavirus

  231. Diseases don’t respect borders. But borders means different governments. And governments ultimately control diseases. Doctors and nurses are the foot soldiers. The weapons and strategies come from the generals and their scientific industrialists.

  232. The picture says it all...the blood in the pillow...this is very scary...I feel we are still taking this too lightly...hearing it is like the flu and will be gone in April...No country is prepared to fight this virus. It came as wave in China. It is all started with one patient. Today Egypt reported the first case. This will be bigger than the Spanish flu. I wish all countries start a global response to provide masks and supplies for all healthcare workers. They are the real heroes against this enemy.

  233. @Fred J Its actually not that uncommon with pneumonia. From personal experience (not of this virus but of pneumonia), I was coughing blood for a few weeks and I was not considered sick enough to admit to hospital. The bad thing about viral pneumonia though is there are few drugs to actually treat it. This is why we hear about the experiments with drugs for AIDS and so on. This is what is making it so serious. The press keeps saying the death rate is low, but actually that death rate is actually pretty high even if its "only" 2% (remember 2% of 20 million people is 400 000, 2% of 300 million is 6 million). Further, it seems while many (82%) have a mild disease, a full 16% are ending up in intensive care. Those numbers are huge and will swamp even most western countries medical resources if the disease is moving in the wider community. In poorer countries, if the disease became wide spread, we could be looking at much higher death rates unless we can vaccinate or find drugs to treat it. So yes its a real emergency, and a global response is needed.

  234. PRC is a mega-polity, along with US, Russia, India and Brazil. When times are good, things perk along ok, those in power raking in their ill-earned gains, while the general populace is so preoccupied with the apparently genuine possibility of making a decent living, it's unable to take note of what the government is really all about. Come a crunch (pandemic, stock market tank, etc.), we suddenly realize that current governments are totally unequipped to deal with crises on such a scale. They've failed to allow them as possibilities, hence have no strategic plans in place. (It's a debatable question whether the CDC would have done a better job containing a rather infectious virus than PRC has done to date.) The PRC government has always been driven by the imperative to look good. It demands "hearts and minds" in order to ensure its own life, as against (what it claims would be) undesirable "social upheaval". (Perhaps some members of the GOP are now close to claiming that as the alternative to their own re-election?) When the CPC fumbles, as now, it just kind of looks, roughly, like Boeing, which, thank goodness, is not a polity, but simply a huge business concern. Whistle-blowers in the US, etc., seem somehow to manage to survive, whereas, in the PRC, they simply disappear. So life goes on ... or does it?

  235. @An American in Sydney Yeah, it's a more brutal society but it's also a bigger problem due to the 1+ billion people. The scale of China (and India) is nothing like seen in Western country. However, India is a democracy which is far more decentralised than China which has indeed become far more centralised in the last few decades. While I think China fumbled the initial discovery period of this virus I think their reaction now is okay and they've done a powerful job of controlling it, as has the rest of the globe. Contrary to what people may think, no one wants these people to die except for sociopaths like Mao, Trump, etc. So it is in everyone's interest that this epidemic is contained. The US's profit-driven history isn't that great either. But again, decentralisation makes solving the problem harder but it is less likely to lead to a problem. There's no conspiracy to keep things quiet here (or in India). So I think that's a bit more useful but all governments are really a form of protectionist racket for the elites. The founders of the US recognised this clearly.

  236. Health workers in Wuhan are exposed to quantities of virus material in their surroundings that ordinary citizens are not. They are under great risk as well as enormous pressure to do their jobs. Their dedication and courage deserves highest praise and recognition for the human values they demonstrate in their work. I urge those here who quickly criticize China for not providing enough of whatever is in short supply to wonder how much better we would do under identical circumstances. It's no time to throw stones.

  237. How much do you want to bet Xi, the Politburo and the ruling class and their families have all the masks they need before a medical professional gets a single one.

  238. @Ed Their families are all out of the country, mostly in Australia, the UK, and the US.

  239. Do we care about Coronavirus except that it might affect us? What about the million Uighurs in prison? China would have enough money if it let the imprisoned leave.

  240. There are no reports of the US sending medical supplies, test kits and masks to China. Have we done anything to assist the Chinese to control the coronavirus? Certainly the US has an interest in suppressing this disease before it spreads wildly in the US. Is Trump oblivious to the problem or does he think this is just another Chinese hoax?

  241. @Harold R Berk China has declined the assistance that has been offered.

  242. We have offered a CDC team and that offer has been rebuffed for weeks. If you look at most masks, they are MADE IN CHINA. Much as it may pain some, not everything is about or can be blamed on Donald Trump.

  243. @Harold R Berk The CDC has been waiting for an official Chinese government response for 6 weeks.

  244. Is this how the leader of China scares the people of Hong Kong of what will continue to happen if they don’t listen? Is that why Trump said this would all be “over” soon?

  245. @Laurie S. Beijing doesn’t need to scare HKers. They are doing an excellent job of it already themselves. So much so that people firebombed a Coronavirus treatment and quarantine center. There’s also the hospital union strike. People here in HK seem to lack empathy. Disease however the cause is inevitable. Instead of putting humanity first they just like to throw blame around as if that will reduce their chances of infection.

  246. Something strange is happening in HKSAR. People mourned the death of Dr Li WenLiang but yet they wanted to seal the Chinese border and the hospital personnels even went on strikes. There is not to say people shouldn't mourn Li WenLiang, who has become a symbol of kindness and compassion worldwide. This is more about the dissonance: Compassion is fine so long as it is not NIMBY. And it is not just about HKSAR but worldwide

  247. @Bos Because the HK populace knows that if the border is not closed, the rest of the world will treat HK just like China in that everyone from HK would be banned from entry.

  248. These medical workers are functioning like modern Norman Bethunes, the battlefield Canadian surgeon during China's war with Japan. Working countless hours saving the lives of soldiers and civilians, he slipped cut his finder and dies of septicemia. Every Chinese person knows his name. Today's doctors in this crisis are working the same way: countless hours under extreme duress. Sooner or later a respirator will slip, a nurse might take hers off, finder coated with infectious detritus, and a health care worker will die. They need all the support they can get.

  249. There was a piece in the NYT recenty that said people might be worrying too much because of human nature: wrong. The death rate is probably about 16%. The only recent figures that I could find said that about 7100 people had recovered and about 1300 people had died. There is no point comparing the number who have died to the number who have been infected because you don't know how the infected cases will pan out. COVID19 is more infectious than cold or flu. It has a long incubation period (Ebola is only three days) at 14 days (some people say up to 28 days), and it can be infectious before there are symptoms. All that is bad. The NYT said that the death rate in China is only so high because their health system has been overwhelmed. Overwhelmed - that word should be a clue. That does not happen with flu. If 60% of the US gets COVID19, and 20% of them die, then that is about 36 000 000 dead Americans. At least if that happens we won't have to listen to people being smart and saying not to worry because flu kills 40 000 each year.

  250. @Andrew Nielsen 1. From the stats provided by the Chinese government, it appears that the death rate is about 3%, less than SARS. 2. Your common cold is caused by another version of the corona virus. It's a family of viruses, some more deadly than others. I take threats of pandemic seriously partly because one of my great grandmothers died in the one after WWI which I have seen reported to have been caused by a virus which originated in the US south on farms where pigs were raised, and traveled to Europe with American troops. To me, it's personal, and not something to either panic about or inflame panic in others.

  251. @Andrew Nielsen But at recent estimates, over 64000 have been infected. So recalculate your estimates and try again.

  252. I’m hoping that public health planners and others in this country are keeping a close eye on things in China and have a plan for what we would do if an outbreak occurs. It’s lazy to suggest that America would never reach the level of chaos in China today due to our more open society/better handling of such things. Nobody knows how dangerous this virus really is. If China can’t even keep up (where everything is made these days) how will we be sure everyone has enough masks and suits?

  253. The masks have been gone from Atlanta area Home Depot and Lowe’s stores for at least two weeks. Same for and Walmart. I’m actually rather impressed by the people who have been quietly gathering supplies for their families and clearing out the stores of ear loop masks and the N-95s. They have done so in the face of a media and health care agencies determined to give the impression that COVID-19 is no worse than the seasonal flu. China doesn’t routinely quarantine tens of millions of people; construct earthen barricades across roads to stop people leaving; and refer to itself as “on a wartime footing” in response to a bad flu season. We’re not stupid and shouldn’t be treated as if we cannot believe our eyes and ears. Aren’t we all (per long standing Dept. of Homeland Security recommendations) supposed to be prepared to be on our own for a few days to a few weeks in the event of a national emergency? People are preparing and the answer to that is to increase supplies; not criticize people for acting in the best interests of themselves and their family members.

  254. China, so far, has pretty much refused any help. Even though a major world power, they have mostly isolated themselves and their people from the world stage. Epidemics come and go; this one looks fairly bad, especially considering the denial on how many cases we actually have. Well. Medics say, sneeze into your elbow, masks do not work, wash your hands a lot.

  255. @Pat Generally good advice.

  256. As a matter of fact WHO experts just arrived at Beijing yesterday. Countries such as Russia, Japan and South Korea also send experts to China recently. The only country that was denied by China is United States, yet it’s not clear why Beijing did so.

  257. @Neal Canada send equipment, too, I believe on the second flight to remove Canadians from the site of the major outbreak. "Global Affairs Canada said it had shipped about 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment to China, including clothing, face shields, masks, goggles and gloves, in the last week." from the National Post. And that's with 2 Canadians in indefinite custody seemingly because Canada detained a Huawai executive at the request of the US government. One Chinese based manufacturer has switched to producing ordinary masks from their completely unrelated business to help the effort, too.

  258. This picture of ICU is saddening

  259. Let's face it... if something like this hit the US the CDC is so gutted by the trump administration that we'd be arguing over a body bag shortage.

  260. I do not suppose any industry or manufactury might convert some staff to making masks? LIke across the US or Britain or Europe or Africa.

  261. @Jenny No doubt, after being assured they can raise prices to robbery scale......similar to pharma prices for life-sustaining medications like insulin.

  262. The Chinese government has poured billions into its Stasi like mad scramble to track and compile all citizens' thoughts and movements to force fealty to dear leader Xi. But police state top- down control and internet censorship have now backfired badly both by denying citizens up to date accurate information about the virus' spread and protections, and by lack of local control over basic hospital supplies and medicine. One result is roving goon squads grabbing unsuspecting people out of their homes for indefinite institutionalization, and a pathetic lack of the most rudimentary medical supplies. A virus outbreak can happen anywhere, but here China's medieval response is more dangerous than the disease itself.

  263. The strangest, and disturbing, thing occurred today. Amazon sent me a box of surgical masks with my order for another item. I didn’t order surgical masks. Hey Jeff, I live in Chula Vista California which isn’t on the Asian continent nor is it a city in China. Send free masks to CHINA not me!

  264. @Roxy you are a good consumer They want your health and your wealth to be intact

  265. These professionals are heroes willing to stand and fight and even die for there patients. They deserve nothing but our highest praise and support. May we do as well if our hour comes

  266. what we waiting for. Send them masks.

  267. @sbanicki up Have you tried to buy masks lately? N95 masks, surgical masks, dust masks, any kind of protective masks? Who do you think make them? If and when that virus hits here, good luck to us all.

  268. They don't wear bootees, which means everywhere the go they carry the virus. Seen in some pictures but others cut them out. Though the poor people have my total admiration and sympathy

  269. Huh? Don’t the Chinese make EVERYTHING? How could they run out of something so simple as masks? Or are we talking about those space suit looking things? Please inform me

  270. @Me Perhaps a little sympathy might be appropriate given the whole population of China needs to wear a face mask. This flu virus carried by airborne germs and transmitted by touch was never expected on this scale. This is now an international health crisis; no time for schadenfreude to get satisfaction out of the misery of others. Anyway China does make (or assemble) almost everything for APPLE?

  271. I am glad I read enough comments to see yours. I was going to post the same thing in pretty much the very same question! How can China not provide its doctors with something as cheap and small as a protective mask?? That is completely bizarre! Are they selling them all to get the 3 cents instead of keeping their virus patrol alive and happy? Someone needs to research and explain the mask shortage. It has to be an amazing story!

  272. Where are the WHO and the CDC? Unbelievable!!

  273. @Ruth Kaplan: Ruth, WHO is in China. The only reason the CDC isn't is because China still hasn't allowed them in. The CDC has been offering for weeks to send a team in, both to assist the Chinese and to observe for themselves what's going on and collect data. But so far, China isn't allowing them.

  274. @Ruth Kaplan, as of 14 February: "Meanwhile, (Dr. Robert) Redfield said that the CDC has been eager to help China in its efforts to fight this outbreak. Nearly six weeks after the CDC first offered to help China with the coronavirus outbreak, the offer still has not been accepted. "The outbreak of the novel coronavirus was first identified in early January."

  275. I'm more than a little concerned about this coronavirus. I think there's a bit of a normalcy bias taking place around the world right now. Many people think this will be contained like Ebola and SARS were. I'm not so confident. There was a report that someone caught the virus via an open pipe 10 floors away from an infected person in an apartment building. If that's true, and I have no reason to believe it's not, then I think the world is in big trouble.

  276. Where are the billionaires Those who have immeasurable wealth and capacity . Those that can dispatch massive medical support from the pocket change they made today? Share? Gift? Write off? Crickets

  277. It looks like a "you can't have your cake and eat it too" situation. On the one hand, China is asking for help but, on the other, picky about donors and excluding the United States. What was that other saying about cake? Oh yes, "let them eat cake"...

  278. Honestly, I am horrified by the heartless response of many Americans. This is a catastrophy, and the health professionals who are trying to help are literally risking their lives. You should all be deeply ashamed for this horrible departure from common decency.

  279. China has a 3rd world country medical system. I am a MD and toured China in 2012. While at the Wuhan airport, I felt faint and broke out in a cold sweat. The airport Medic sent me via ambulance to Wuhan University Hospital ER. Our tour guide stayed with me to translate and said I was at the best hospital in Wuhan getting VIP care as a foreigner. Families with wads of paper currency in their hands arrived at the ER by private car or taxi, and literally dragged or carried their sick family member from the entrance to the registration desk. The ER would not do anything without cash prepayment. I was on a gurney next to other Chinese patients and observed their medical care. None had insurance. I had shaking chills, cramping, nausea, and vomiting. I had an IV set at an inadequate flow rate, a brief exam, blood drawn, and an EKG. I reviewed my test results. The staff did not have a diagnosis. It became clear as my symptoms progressed that I had an bacterial or viral gastroenteritis. When they wanted to do a head CT scan to rule out brain tumor, I refused and told our tour guide to get me out of the ER immediately. I went to a hotel, stayed overnight, and self medicated with the travel medications that I had in my luggage. After a rough night with trips to and from the bathroom, I was fit enough to fly to Shanghai to catch up with the tour. My observations of medical care in the ER were under "normal" conditions. I cannot imagine what the ER is like during a corona virus epidemic.

  280. @DAK While China's medical system is still not comparable to the U.S., 2012 is a LONG time ago. To put it into perspective, China's gdp then is nearly half of what it is now.

  281. GDP growth in recent years has not been converted into improvements in the medical field. Medical care is still one of the “Three Big Mountains” faced by the majority of the Chinese public (the other two being Housing and Education). In normal times it takes day to see a doctor coz the queue is so long, I can’t even imagine what it’s like these days with the coronavirus everywhere.

  282. What comes to mind when I see these pictures is the bravery of the Russian soldiers during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster who were tasked with cleaning up the radioactive debris before the radiation could spread further. These medical workers are risking their lives for everyone. They should be honored for their bravery and given everything they need.

  283. I like the Chernobyl analogy. Wuhan too is a meltdown of eerily similar proportions ( an entire metropolitan area contaminated and isolated ) with dreadfully similar aspects of slow, ineffective response and dastardly suppression of critical outcry.

  284. Seeing a row of at least 6 intubated patients in an open ward is what scares me. (I'm an RN, worked ortho/trauma/med-surg). If this is one of the facilities slapped up to cope with Covid-19 that would be understandable, but if this what a regular ICU in China looks like, then it's no wonder they cannot control infections. A look at the workers tells me that they don't have sufficient equipment- one of the visible workers does not have proper foot coverings (something I've noticed in other pictures, too). Another feature completely lacking in any of the pictures I've seen is that apparently they do not use IV pumps in Chinese health care facilities. Not that they are really necessary, but it just shows that the system lags behind the care standards of a western facility. That said, they are incredibly brave to be doing what they are doing. Nurses the world over are resourceful and innovative, and we usually find a way to do what needs to be done- even if it requires inventing some on-the -fly unorthodox methods.

  285. Even during non crisis times U.S. hospitals have faced shortages of simple vital medical supplies such as normal saline,heparin and emergency cardiac medications.Chinese manufacture combined with hospitals' "on-time" supplies guarantee failure in the event a pandemic hits.There is absolutely no chance the supply of personal protective gear ,negative pressure isolation rooms and surface disinfectants is adequate to meet such a challenge.Plans,policies and procedures are no substitute for actions.This should be a wake up call that today's lowest cost solutions may require a very large price paid tomorrow.

  286. Why not drop medical supplies in via the air at hospitals? This would eliminate the road side checks. I’m assuming helicopters could do this and never be near the virus?