Doctors describe chaos in hospitals as COVID sweeps through China | world news

Doctors in China have described the chaos unfolding in hospitals as COVID-19 infections sweep the country.

Three medical professionals spoke anonymously to Sky News, painting a picture of emergency departments “full” of patients, “ventilators and oxygen machines everywhere” and “not enough IV beds”.

strict zero-COVID restrictions have been lifted just three weeks ago in China and the virus has spread rapidly.

But assessing the scale of the impact is difficult because precise figures on cases and deaths are not published and speaking out carries enormous risk.

Despite this, some doctors spoke exclusively to Sky News and described how the system is under pressure.

A doctor from the northern city of Shenyang explained how “our emergency room (ER) is full of patients, dozens of times busier than usual.”

“It’s not easy for older people to get admitted,” they said.

“There are not enough ambulances. Ventilators and oxygen machines are everywhere in the emergency room.

“There aren’t enough IV beds. Before, we had a doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:4 or 1:5, now it’s more like 1:10.”

They also described the high death rate seen, contrary to official figures which indicate that a tiny handful of people have died from the virus in recent months.

A death of covid in China is so narrowly defined that on a typical day, authorities report one, two, three, or even no deaths.

This is despite the fact that around 250 million people (18% of the population) were infected with COVID in December alone, according to leaked information from sources close to the government.

What the doctor describes clearly contradicts the official figures.

“This wave of COVID is deadly for older people, especially with underlying illnesses and dysfunctions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems,” the doctor said.

“For every 10 elderly patients with serious illnesses admitted to the emergency room, approximately 50% die.”

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Doctors told Sky News there were not enough ambulances or hospital beds available

“A person must remain on duty for days”

Another doctor from Beijing spoke of the enormous pressures on hospital staff with so many patients arriving and many doctors and nurses also falling ill.

“There are not enough staff on the ward because all the nurses tested positive for COVID-19. Now one person has to stay on duty for several days,” the doctor said.

“The majority, if not all, of patients for follow-up visits and consultations have COVID or have recovered from COVID.”

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A third doctor spoke of extremely long waits for patients to be seen.

China announced on Dec. 7 that it would “optimize” its COVID response and has since dismantled almost all the rules and infrastructure that supported it, including removal of quarantine and testing rules for international arrivals.

But that left all 1.4 billion people exposed because herd immunity is limited and a large proportion of the elderly are not fully vaccinated.

Additionally, the healthcare system is under-resourced with not enough intensive care beds.

While the spread in Beijing is expected to have peaked, the nationwide peak is not expected to occur for about a month and there are concerns about how smaller regional cities are coping. will come out.

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