Chinese doctor who warned about “SARS-like” disease in Wuhan has died

Dr. Li Wenliang

Feb. 7, 2020: Dr. Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who warned the public of a potential "SARS-like" disease in December 2019, has died, according to Wuhan Central Hospital. Li died of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan in the early hours of Friday morning February 7, 2020 (local time).

"Our hospital's ophthalmologist Li Wenliang was unfortunately infected with coronavirus during his work in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic," the latest hospital statement read.

"He died at 2:58 am on Feb. 7 after attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful."

Earlier on Thursday night, several state media outlets had reported Li's death, following which Chinese social media erupted in profound grief and anger.

Hours of confusion followed, with Wuhan Central Hospital releasing a statement saying Li was still alive and in critical condition, adding that staff were "making attempts to resuscitate him."

Li had raised the alarm about the virus that ultimately took his life.

In December, he posted in his medical school alumni group on the Chinese messaging app WeChat that seven patients from a local seafood market had been diagnosed with a SARS-like illness and were quarantined in his hospital in Wuhan.

Soon after he posted the message, Li was accused of rumor-mongering by the Wuhan police.

He was one of several medics targeted by police for trying to blow the whistle on the deadly virus in the early weeks of the outbreak, which has sickened more than 28,000 people and killed more than 560. He later contracted the virus himself.

 

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