In China, ‘overflowing hospital morgues… worsening Covid yet to come': Expert

By, New Delhi
Dec 24, 2022 01:40 PM IST

Several media reports indicate that hospitals in major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have been overwhelmed, while crematoriums are struggling to cope.

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist, who had recently warned that “over 60 per cent of China's and 10 per cent of the Earth's population will likely be infected over the next 90 days” due to Covid-19, on Saturday claimed that a "top tier level A” hospital in Beijing ran out of beds and oxygen tanks.

Relatives gather near the beds of sickened patients at the emergency department of the Langfang No. 4 People's Hospital in Bazhou city in northern China's Hebei province on Thursday.(AP)
Relatives gather near the beds of sickened patients at the emergency department of the Langfang No. 4 People's Hospital in Bazhou city in northern China's Hebei province on Thursday.(AP)

Retweeting a video purportedly showing bodies lined-up at a hospital, Eric Feigl-Ding wrote, "Overflowing hospital morgues—Fever meds shortage, oxygen tanks EMPTY, hospitals overwhelmed, blood shortage, death tolls soaring among elderly ==>lots of body bags—even at a top Beijing hospital too. Worsening #COVID19 yet to come. But still 0 official deaths."

"And I want to remind folks that Beijing has some of the best hospitals in 🇨🇳. And yet, at this “top tier level A” hospital, they still ran out of beds and oxygen tanks. This story is harrowing—patient died in 15 minutes of ICU arrival," he added.

Several media reports indicate that hospitals in major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have been overwhelmed, while crematoriums are struggling to cope. In Dongguan, the health commission said as of December 22, there were 2,528 healthcare staff still working despite having fever or testing positive for Covid, reported Bloomberg.

Also Read | Mandatory RT-PCR tests for arrivals from China, 4 more nations amid Covid worry

China is grappling with its first-ever national Covid wave, while emergency wards in small cities and towns southwest of Beijing are overwhelmed. Intensive care units are turning away ambulances, relatives of sick people are searching for open beds, and patients are slumped on benches in hospital corridors and lying on floors for a lack of beds.

In a report, AP claimed that over two days, its journalists visited five hospitals and two crematoriums in towns and small cities in Baoding and Langfang prefectures, in central Hebei province. The area was the epicentre of one of China’s first outbreaks after the state loosened Covid controls in November and December. For weeks, the region went quiet, as people fell ill and stayed home.

In a further sign of the scale of the outbreak, minutes from an internal meeting of the top health authority on Wednesday showed that nearly 37 million people in the nation may have been infected with Covid on a single day. Health officials on the island province of Hainan said on Friday that infections are “increasing exponentially” and a further surge of cases is expected into New Year’s Day and the Lunar New Year holiday in January. They didn’t give specific numbers, Bloomberg reported.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Have 11 years' experience in print and digital media. Write on politics, defence and world affairs, and have a keen eye for human-interest stories.

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