Wuhan emerges from the shadow of COVID-19

By Cui Jia and Liu Kun | China Daily | Updated: 2023-04-03 07:21
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Visitors enjoy the blossom at the East Lake Cherry Garden on March 25. [JIAO XIAOXIANG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

Tough times

Wen Danning, head of the infectious diseases department at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, said even when the number of patients being treated for pneumonia of an unknown cause started rising in early January 2020, she didn't realize that a pandemic would soon begin, changing people's lives worldwide.

Specializing in infectious diseases, Jinyintan was one of the first hospitals in Wuhan and the world to treat patients with this pneumonia, including those with severe symptoms.

It quickly turned out that the infections were caused by the novel coronavirus, which could be transmitted from human to human. "Dealing with a new disease that even didn't have a name, the medical workers were gripped by a feeling of panic at the beginning," Wen said.

On Feb 11, 2020, the disease caused by the virus was named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization.

Soon, medical experts from all over China arrived at the hospital to study the disease.

Based on their experience of treating viral pneumonia, the team quickly drafted the first guidance on diagnosing and treating the disease. Since then, China has published 10 versions of the guidance.

"China's quick response to gain insights into COVID-19 in Wuhan laid a solid foundation for the country and the world to introduce measures to contain the spread of the virus and save lives," Wen said.

In addition to putting enormous pressure on local medical workers, the sudden outbreak became a grave test for both the city and its people as the original strain of the virus started to spread among communities, and the fatality rate was relatively high.

Memories of the period from late January to mid-February 2020 are terrifying for local people. When he was interviewed by China Daily in April 2020, Zhang Dingyu, former head of Jinyintan, said people were worried about a shortage of medical resources and whether they would be treated if they fell ill.

Walking in the outpatients' reception hall at Wuhan Hankou Hospital, Zhao Hua, who worked as a doctor in the department, recalled the scene about three years ago.

Zhao said the hospital received orders to transform itself into a designated facility for COVID-19 patients at 4 pm on Jan 20, 2020. At 9 pm, as soon as things were ready to admit patients, the fever clinic quickly filled with people with symptoms.

The hospital then opened the outpatients' reception hall and the emergency department to cope with the rising number of patients.

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