The death rate from the virus in Wuhan at the end of last week was 4.9 per cent, more than double the national average of 2.1 per cent, according to China’s National Health Commission.
Jiang Rongmeng, a member of the commission’s team studying the virus, said Wuhan’s inadequate medical resources, especially in intensive care, were contributing to the higher mortality rate. “The hospital systems have been completely overwhelmed by the number of people who have been seeking care — you see the very long queues, you see the very crowded rooms in the outpatient department and the A&E [accident and emergency] department. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to have the laboratory capacity to test everybody,” said Gabriel Leung, dean of the medical school at the University of Hong Kong.
Two new hospitals with about 2,600-beds have been built to help ease the burden. But this will be far from sufficient, said Wang Jing, a nurse at Wuhan Union Hospital West Campus, one of the facilities designated for coronavirus patients. “There are too many patients, far too many of them, and the demand for beds far outstrips supply,” she said.