Hospitals in China are overrun with COVID cases
Hospitals in China are overrun with COVID cases
Published on December 27, 2022 02:29 AM by Sally Harbor
Doctor Howard Bernstein of Beijing noted that he has never encountered anything like this in his more than three decades of emergency medicine.
He added that patients are coming into his hospital in ever-increasing numbers; practically all of them are elderly, and many are ill with symptoms of COVID and pneumonia.
Bernstein's statement is consistent with similar evidence from medical professionals across China who are struggling to cope after China abruptly changed its previously tight COVID standards this month, which was followed by an outbreak of diseases that spread across the country.
Since the epidemic started in the country's capital city of Wuhan three years ago, this outbreak is the largest to have occurred there. In this month's high demand, Beijing's government hospitals and crematoriums have also struggled.
After a "stressful" shift at the privately run Beijing United Family Institution in the east of the capital, Bernstein told news sources that "the hospital is completely overburdened from top to bottom."
Bernstein declared that the intensive care unit (ICU), emergency room, fever clinic, and other wards were all filled
"Many of them were given hospital admissions. People keep going to the ER since there is no flow and they won't get better in a day or two, but they can't get upstairs to the hospital rooms because of the stairs, "he explained. They have been kept in the ER for days.
Bernstein has seen hundreds of COVID patients daily in the past month, up from none.
He admitted, "I think we were just unprepared for this. That's the biggest problem, really."
The chief medical officer at the exclusive Raffles Hospital in Beijing, Sonia Jutard-Bourreau, 48, said that patient volumes are five to six times more than usual and that patients' average ages have risen by nearly 40 years to over 70 in just the past week.
She added, "It's always the same profile." That is, the majority of the patients are unvaccinated.
She claimed that local hospitals are "overwhelmed" and that patients and their family members travel to Raffles to purchase Paxlovid, a COVID medication made by Pfizer, which is in short supply in numerous locations, including Raffles.
Jutard-Bourreau says, "They want the drug as a replacement for the vaccine, but the medicine does not replace the vaccine"
Jutard-Bourreau explained that there are specific requirements for when her team can prescribe it, saying, "They want the drug as a replacement of the vaccine, but the medicine does not replace the vaccine."
Jutard-Bourreau, who, like Bernstein, has spent about ten years working in China, is concerned that the worst of this wave has not yet reached Beijing.
Medical professionals in other parts of China told news sources that due to exceptionally high COVID and sickness rates among personnel, resources had already been strained in some situations.
One nurse working in the western city of Xian reported that the virus had recently infected 45 out of 51 nurses in her department and every employee in the emergency room.
The 22-year-old nurse with the last name Wang claimed that among her coworkers, there were "so many positive instances." "Almost all of the doctors have it."
Even if they test positive and have a low-grade fever, Wang and nurses at other hospitals claimed they had been instructed to report for work.
The hospital in Hubei Province's psychiatric ward, where Jiang, a 29-year-old nurse, works, has ceased taking on new patients since staff attendance has dropped by more than 50%. She said there needs to be more support for her as she works shifts longer than 16 hours.
"I worry that you won't be able to readily restrain them alone," she said if the patient seemed agitated. "The circumstances are not ideal."
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According to estimations from specialists
Tens of thousands of the elderly population may pass away, and the doctors who talked to news sources said they were most concerned about them.
Airfinity, a British health data company, projected that more than 5,000 people are probably dying from COVID-19 in China every day, contrasting with official data from Beijing on the country's current outbreak.
The National Health Commission should have addressed concerns expressed by medical professionals in this piece in response to a Reuters request for comment.
Even though crematories were experiencing an increase in demand, China reported no COVID deaths on the mainland for the six days up until Sunday, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The decision by China to limit the kind of deaths it counts as COVID-related to those involving pneumonia or respiratory failure has health professionals around the world scratching their heads.
Jutard-Bourreau argued that politics, not medicine, was the problem. "If they are currently dying from COVID, it is due to COVID. Politicians use mortality rates now, not doctors."
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