Doctors in Wuhan report medical supply shortages, face exposure to coronavirus

Doctors in Wuhan report medical supply shortages, face exposure to coronavirus
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Medical workers in China are scrambling to protect themselves from the latest coronavirus outbreak as they say medical shortages leave them susceptible to contracting the disease. 

Nurses and doctors told The New York Times that they are concerned about getting the virus after a late response by Beijing hindered hospitals’ ability to get a head start on fighting against the outbreak.

“There are risks — there simply aren’t enough resources,” said Yu Yajie, an administrator at Wuhan Central Hospital. 

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“Of course I’m nervous about getting infected,” added Cai Yi, head of the division of pain management at Wuhan Central Hospital. “But if we let ourselves be nervous, then what would happen to the people?” 

Some medical workers told the Times that they are working to buy protective gear with their own money, going as far as begging friends or relying on donations for funds. 

The threat facing Chinese medical workers was put in stark relief after Li Wenliang, a doctor who first warned of the virus before being muzzled by the government, died from the illness. His death sparked fury with Beijing, with many accusing the nation's government of prioritizing political control over citizens’ health.

The Times’s report comes as coronavirus cases spike in mainland China. 

China on Thursday reported 254 new deaths related to the latest coronavirus outbreak as the number of cases spikes by 15,152. Beijing has now confirmed 1,367 deaths from the disease, with the total number of confirmed cases climbing to more than 50,000.

More than 20 other countries have also reported cases of the virus.

Fourteen cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday it expects more cases in the coming weeks and days as people return from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak.