ith reports of shortages of beds at hospitals across Wuhan as the city attempts to cope with a deadly virus outbreak, authorities have announced plans to build a whole new hospital in less than a week.
As Wuhan, a city of 11 million, has gone on lockdown, residents worried about fevers have flocked to local hospitals to check to see if they have contracted the coronavirus that has already killed 17 people in the province.
Videos from Wuhan hospitals shared online show hallways packed with only a few doctors available to address masses of potential patients. The Wuhan virus spreads from person to person via the respiratory system, making crowded hospitals like these frightening places to be.
A video from a hospital in Wuhan …
i am so speechless，just look at the crowd… it only takes one real patient of #WuhanCoronavirus to doom everyone else on the site!#Wuhan #WuhanPneumonia #WuhanOutbreak pic.twitter.com/eivOno6Soh
— 巴丢草 Badiucao (@badiucao) January 23, 2020
Video from a chat group shows the dire situation in Wuhan’s overcrowded hospitals. All concerned citizens, sick or not, have been waiting for confirmation on whether they’ve caught the #WuhanCoronavirus. Imagine how easily people can get sick from standing in these lines. pic.twitter.com/ZV7ahCc0AL
— Xinyan Yu (@xinyanyu) January 22, 2020
“There’re a sea of people, many with high fever. 3 or 4 doctors are directing patients. I estimate they’ll need to wait for up to 10 hours. I don’t know what the gov plans are – does it want these people to be treated quickly or wait for their death?” (2/2) #WuhanCoronavirus
— Xinyan Yu (@xinyanyu) January 23, 2020
To address the overcrowding, authorities have announced plans to build a hospital dedicated to treating the viral outbreak in Wuhan’s Caidan district. The temporary emergency facility will be built in just six days, according to state media reports.
The treatment center will follow the model of one built in Beijing during the SARS scare of 2003 which boasted 1,000 beds.
If experts’ projections are correct, those beds will be very much needed. On Thursday, doctors at several Wuhan hospitals told Caixin that they estimate the number of people infected by the virus may eventually exceed 6,000.
On the same day, a virus expert who helped identify the source of the SARS virus said that he expects the scale of this new virus may be 10 times that of SARS, which saw more than 8,000 confirmed cases.