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Chinese Doctor Who Raised Alarm About Wuhan Coronavirus Has Disappeared

Cheng Min/Xinhua via AP

China lied and people died. It was a fact then, and now the U.S. intelligence community says that the authoritarian regime cooked the books in terms of reporting the number of cases and related deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus. Yeah, no one’s shocked by these findings. The utter incompetence at containment measures is one for the textbooks. China could have contained this. They didn’t—and they unleashed this virus upon the world, crashing the economy in the process. The world economy has ground to a halt. 


While this virus hasn’t infected or killed as many people as the Swine Flu in 2009, which had 60 million cases and 12,000 deaths in the U.S., it’s incredibly contagious. Two-to-three people are infected by someone carrying the diseases as opposed to the one-to-one ratio with the seasonal flu. The seasonal flu infects anywhere from 20-40 million Americans a year and kills tens of thousands each year. This year we’re projected to see upwards of 18-50,000 deaths from the flu. With the Wuhan virus, we’re estimating a death toll of 100,000-200,000. Young people have a better chance of surviving if infected, but they can still become gravely ill and possibly die. Sadly, that’s already occurred, but the elderly and the immunocompromised are at serious risk of death if they contract this disease, which is why the social distancing is key. There will be hordes of cases where someone infected might be asymptomatic or exhibit mild symptoms. These people go to the store or any crowded area—and it spreads like a brushfire. This virus can live on some surfaces for up to three days. 

If there is any more data, we’ll never know for a bit. Perhaps, we could have known more if China, who discovered this pneumonia-like virus in December, didn’t order its scientists to destroy samples, prohibit doctors from reporting new cases, keep medical staff in the dark, or strong-arm doctors trying to do the right thing. For one whistleblower doctor, he has met the fate many have been subjected to when they act out of turn: they go away. Yes, a doctor who tried to raise the alarm has disappeared in China (via NY Post):


A Chinese doctor who claimed her bosses tried to silence her early warnings about coronavirus appears to have disappeared — stirring fears that she was detained, according to new reports.

Ai Fen had pointed out cases of the illness to colleagues at Wuhan Central Hospital, eight of whom were reprimanded themselves, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

The whereabouts of Ai, who is head of the emergency department, are now unknown, 60 Minutes Australia reported Monday.

“Just two weeks ago the head of Emergency at Wuhan Central hospital went public, saying authorities had stopped her and her colleagues from warning the world,” the outlet tweeted. “She has now disappeared, her whereabouts unknown.”

Soon after the program aired, Ai posted a cryptic message to her page on the Chinese social media site Weibo.

“A river. A bridge. A road. A clock chime,” read the post, coupled with a Wuhan cityscape photo.

Dr. Fen was mentioned in The Wall Street Journal’s lengthy piece about how this fiasco became an international crisis:

Wuhan Central, received its first coronavirus case, a 65-year-old man with a fever but no other symptoms, on Dec. 16, although doctors didn’t know it then, said Ai Fen, who runs the emergency department there, in an interview on Feb. 18.

A CT scan revealed infection in both his lungs, but antibiotics and anti-flu drugs wouldn’t shift it. Only after he was transferred to another hospital did staff there learn that he worked at Hua’nan, Dr. Ai said.

It would be another 11 days before doctors started to make the connection between the Hua’nan cases. Dr. Ai was among the first.

On Dec. 27, she received a second patient with similar symptoms, and ordered a laboratory test. By the following day, she had seen seven cases of unexplained pneumonia, four affiliated with the Hua’nan market, including a vendor’s mother.

This could be a contagious disease, she remembers thinking to herself.

She informed the hospital’s leadership on Dec. 29, and it notified the China CDC’s district office, which said it had heard similar reports from elsewhere in Wuhan, according to Dr. Ai.


…the hospital’s discipline department summoned her for a chat the next day. She was criticized for “spreading rumors,” according to Dr. Ai. She tried to argue that the disease could be contagious. They said her action caused panic and “damaged the stability” of Wuhan.

The hospital’s leadership also banned staff from discussing the disease in public or via texts or images, Dr. Ai said. Eight days later, a nurse in her department started to feel sick, and it was later confirmed she was infected by the coronavirus. By early March, three doctors at the hospital had died from the infection.


She’s not alone. Vloggers trying to document what has been going on have vanished as well. It’s typical of any regime of this nature. When you act out of school and don’t follow the rules, you go away. 

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