Chinese officials said that 1,716 healthcare workers in China have been infected by the coronavirus. Six of them are dead.
“Health workers are the glue that holds the health system and outbreak response together,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding that “we need to know more ” about how they are getting sick.
Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in December, is also home to 1,102 infected staff.
As of Friday, Beijing’s National Health Commission has yet to acknowledge its sickened medical workers. But it disclosed for the first time that nearly half a million people have come in contact with infected patients.
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As coronavirus cases continue to swell — impacting nearly 64,000 people and killing some 1,380 — a particularly vulnerable population is bearing the brunt of this epidemic: medical staff.
As of Friday, 1,716 healthcare workers who were treating patients in China have been infected. Six are dead, National Health Commission Vice Minister Zeng Yixin said at a news conference, according to Reuters.
“At present, the duties of medical workers at the front are indeed extremely heavy; their working and resting circumstances are limited, the psychological pressures are great, and the risk of infection is high,” he said.
Zeng said that the current death toll among healthcare workers was reported on Tuesday so it remains unclear whether the coronavirus has killed more of them in the days since. As the number of staff members contracting coronavirus rises, officials need to analyze how many of them were infected in hospitals, he noted, per Reuters.
At a World Health Organization media briefing on Friday, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, echoed this sentiment.
“Health workers are the glue that holds the health system and outbreak response together,” he said, adding that “we need to know more ” about how they are getting sick.
A nurse went viral speaking out about her fears
A nurse wrote on Weibo that she is among almost 150 people who work at Wuhan Central Hospital and have either been infected or are suspected to have the coronavirus, CNN found. Quarantined at home since last month, the unidentified nurse was only on Tuesday admitted to the same hospital where she is an employee.
“The floor I live on is basically filled with colleagues from my hospital,” she said on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform similar to Twitter. “These are mostly double or triple rooms, with my colleagues’ names and bed numbers clearly written in black and white on the doors.”
The nurse added that she holds her breath when her fellow healthcare workers enter the room to check on her, saying, “I’m afraid the virus inside my body will come out and infect these colleagues who are still standing fast on the frontline.”
Of the infected medical workers, 1,102 are located in Wuhan alone, and another 400 became ill elsewhere in the Hubei province, Zeng said, the Daily Mail reported.
Wuhan was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in December and the threat level skyrocketed for …read more
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