3,019 medical workers in China found infected, almost double official total: Chinese study

3,019 medical workers nationwide were infected with the virus.

Kayla Wong | February 20, 01:42 pm


A study conducted in China by a team at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that almost double the officially reported total of medics in China have been infected with Covid-19.

3,019 medical workers infected

The report was written by Caixin Global, the English arm of financial media group Caixin that is known for its investigative journalism.

The CDC team’s study investigated 72,314 cases.

A total of 44,672 of these were confirmed cases.

And out of that number, 3,019 were medical workers.

Study reveals number that’s almost double official total

However, China’s National Health Commission previously said that as of Feb. 11, more than 1,700 medical workers nationwide were infected with Covid-19.

That number is much smaller than what the study revealed.

Among these medical workers, 1,688 were in critical condition, according to the report which was also carried by The Straits Times.

Most of them in Wuhan

Some 64 percent of these patients were in Wuhan — the epicentre of the viral outbreak — and 23.3 percent were in other parts of Hubei province.

The study further found that an additional 13.8 percent of patients were in severe condition — having difficulty breathing, multiple lung lesions or having to be hospitalised — on top of those in critical condition.

Results of the study were published on Monday, Feb. 17, by the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology.

Medical workers in Wuhan faced highest risk of infection

The study also found the death rate in Hubei province — the area hardest hit by the epidemic — was higher than the rest of the country.

The difference is 2.9 percent, compared with 0.4 percent country-wide.

Medical workers in Wuhan also faced the highest risk of infection, particularly in January 2020, when almost 40 percent of infected cases advanced rapidly to severe condition in the first 10 days.

However, the rate went down in February 2020.

Six medical workers in China have reportedly died from the Covid-19.

Martyred doctors

Since the death of “rumour-monger” turned “whistleblower” doctor Li Wenliang, two more doctors have reportedly died, including respected neurosurgeon Liu Zhiming, who was also director of the Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan.

China had officially designated medical workers who died fighting the virus on the front line as “martyrs”.

While the study had not delved into how the medical workers were infected, previous Caixin reports reveal that uninformed doctors had close contact with patients in the early stage of the epidemic.

Lack of supplies such as protective suits and masks later left workers exposed to the virus as well.

Doctor in China who worked for 18 days straight & died hailed as a role model by govt

Highly contagious

The study also reported that while fewer infected patients might die from the Covid-19 as compared to the SARS and MERS viruses, Covid-19 appears to be more contagious than the other two.

Confirmed cases appeared in 20 provinces within just 10 days after Dec. 31, when all cases were still in Hubei province.

And within the next 10 days, the virus had spread to 30 provinces.

While infection rate seems to be slowing, many questions about the Covid-19 remain, such as the effective treatment and prevention methods.

Top image via Southeast University

About Kayla Wong

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