CLOSINGS: View Closings

Wuhan coronavirus whistleblower doctor dies as confirmed cases top 30,000

Li Wenliang, the Chinese whistleblower doctor who warned the public of a potential "SARS-like" disease in December 2019, has died, according to Wuhan Central Hospital. The confirmation follows a series of conflicting statements about his condition from the hospital and Chinese state media outlets. Editor's note: This video has been updated to reflect the latest statement from Wuhan Central Hospital, after confusion in state media reports.

Posted: Feb 7, 2020 4:30 AM
Updated: Feb 7, 2020 4:30 AM

A Wuhan doctor who attempted to warn the public about a potential new coronavirus outbreak died on Friday from the infection, as the number of virus-related deaths continued to rise taking the total in China to more than 600.

As of Friday morning, number of confirmed cases globally stood at 31,420, with more than 31,000 of those in mainland China. The number of cases in China grew by 3,143, or around 11%, on the previous day. That is a drop in the percentage increase, which had been around 15% every other day this week.

In total there have been 638 deaths, all but two of which were in mainland China, with one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.

Li Wenliang, 34, was a Wuhan doctor who was widely hailed as a hero after it emerged he was targeted by police for spreading "rumors" about the virus, when he was in fact sharing accurate information to try and raise the alarm.

Speaking to CNN this week from his hospital bed, Li said that "I only wanted to remind my university classmates to be careful." At the time he was warning about a SARS-like virus spreading in the city, officials were still downplaying the outbreak and its danger.

Wuhan Central Hospital, where Li worked as an ophthalmologist, announced his death in the early hours of Friday morning local time, leading to an outpouring of grief and anger online. This was made worse by initial confusion as state media first published then retracted reports of his death, leading to allegations they were trying to cover it up or control the story.

"I knew you would post this in the middle of the night," read one popular post on Weibo, one of China's largest social media platforms. "You think we've all gone to sleep? No. We haven't."

Another said that "countless young people will mature overnight after today: the world is not as beautiful as we imagined. Are you angry? If any of us here is fortunate enough to speak up for the public in the future, please make sure you remember tonight's anger."

On Friday, China's National Supervisory Commission, the country's top anti-corruption agency, announced in a statement that it would send a team to Wuhan to investigate Li's death, "in response to issues raised by the masses." The short statement did not elaborate on the nature of the "issues" raised.

'No deserters'

The anger over Li's death comes as the Chinese authorities signaled an escalation in how they control the virus, after an initial lockdown of Wuhan and neighboring cities failed to contain the outbreak within Hubei province.

Speaking in Wuhan on Thursday, Sun Chunlan, one of China's vice premiers and member of the Politburo, said that every household must be checked and anyone with symptoms sent to one of dozens of newly designated quarantine centers.

"There can be no deserters in a time of war," she said. "They will be nailed to the pillar of historical shame forever."

As of Thursday, 132 quarantine centers have been established across the city, Hu Lishan, Wuhan deputy Party secretary, told reporters. They include a converted conference and exhibition center, and a building complex with the awkward name "Wuhan Living Room."

There are around 12,500 beds in the quarantine centers, Hu said, though he warned the city was running short of space in hospitals, with only 400 or so of the 8,500 beds across 28 coronavirus-designated hospitals available.

"To be honest, we did not do well enough in some areas and we need to do better," Hu said.

Several purpose-built hospitals have gone into action in Wuhan, built in less than a week by teams working around the clock, but they have not been enough to alleviate demand. Thousands of medical personnel have also been sent to the city to help with relief efforts.

Economic fears

Chinese state news agency Xinhua said in a commentary Thursday that for a nation, "the greatest glory consists not in never falling, but rising when it falls."

The commentary continued, "while the virus battle continues, normal social and economic operations are being restored. People are on their way back to work after the Spring Festival holiday. Some are wearing masks, and some are working at home to prevent infections. Many years later, it will become an unforgettable memory for the Chinese."

The country's Ministry of Commerce encouraged supermarkets and grocery stores to resume operations Thursday, as the economic and societal toll of having much of the country on voluntary or mandatory quarantine began to take its toll. Businesses have also been asked to "resume operation in an orderly manner while continuing to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak."

The economic shocks from the virus -- and the prolonged shutdown of many factories and businesses across China -- are being felt worldwide, with ramifications for the global oil industry and automakers.

Hong Kong in particular is feeling the pain from the virus outbreak. The semi-autonomous Chinese city was already in a technical recession due to the US-China trade war and over six months of protests, and a massive drop in tourists and business due to the outbreak has further pushed down the economy.

Cruise ships quarantined

With more than two dozen countries reporting cases of the virus, there is an ongoing global race to contain it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday it was convening a global research and innovation forum to mobilize international action in response to the outbreak.

"Harnessing the power of science is critical for bringing this outbreak under control," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "There are questions we need answers to, and tools we need developed as quickly as possible. WHO is playing an important coordinating role by bringing the scientific community together to identify research priorities and accelerate progress."

Some people at the frontline of the outbreak are the thousands currently holed up on two cruise ships in Japan and Hong Kong, on which all passengers and crew are being tested for the virus.

As of Friday morning, there were an additional 41 cases confirmed on the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship currently docked in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. That brings the total number of cases to 61, from 273 passengers and crew tested, or 22%, raising concerns of a major outbreak on board.

Another cruise ship in Hong Kong is awaiting test results with 1,800 passengers stuck after it was revealed that passengers from the previous voyage became infected.

Cruise ships can become hotbeds for viral infections, typically norovirus and other gastrointestinal bugs -- this time last year, a cruise in the Caribbean had to return to port early after more than 400 passengers got sick.

"Commercial maritime travel is characterized by the movement of large numbers of people in closed and semi-closed settings," according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). "Like other close-contact environments, these settings can facilitate the transmission of influenza viruses and other respiratory viruses from person to person through droplet spread or potentially through contact with contaminated surfaces."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 289303

Reported Deaths: 3434
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin616511100
Ramsey25903487
Anoka20522218
Dakota20096183
Washington13066109
Stearns1291098
St. Louis7935101
Scott782754
Wright702436
Olmsted626134
Sherburne538640
Clay463856
Carver432213
Blue Earth387112
Rice386033
Kandiyohi373819
Crow Wing334631
Nobles298729
Chisago29358
Otter Tail282818
Benton278642
Winona258128
Mower241323
Douglas237631
Polk234423
Morrison219524
Lyon201911
McLeod195610
Beltrami194615
Becker187512
Goodhue185727
Steele17826
Itasca176124
Isanti174316
Todd171612
Carlton165710
Nicollet150823
Freeborn14465
Mille Lacs141630
Le Sueur138110
Waseca134011
Cass12849
Brown125011
Pine12458
Meeker11308
Roseau10503
Hubbard103822
Martin101920
Wabasha9611
Redwood83718
Dodge8060
Chippewa8057
Watonwan7984
Cottonwood7682
Renville75119
Sibley7414
Wadena7376
Aitkin69826
Rock6829
Pipestone67818
Houston6422
Fillmore6320
Yellow Medicine59311
Pennington5856
Kanabec54912
Murray5493
Swift5366
Faribault5081
Pope4990
Stevens4643
Clearwater4536
Marshall4438
Jackson4361
Unassigned38759
Lake3816
Koochiching3535
Wilkin3465
Lac qui Parle3383
Norman3227
Lincoln3171
Big Stone2841
Mahnomen2704
Grant2516
Red Lake2033
Kittson1917
Traverse1360
Lake of the Woods931
Cook600

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 220032

Reported Deaths: 2282
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk32695327
Linn13801164
Scott1068881
Black Hawk10631132
Woodbury10061120
Johnson932336
Dubuque904191
Story666620
Dallas619957
Pottawattamie602967
Sioux362025
Webster348432
Marshall342044
Cerro Gordo340644
Clinton315939
Buena Vista297914
Des Moines278218
Muscatine278268
Warren270510
Plymouth265639
Wapello248671
Jones226913
Jasper210942
Marion200019
Lee195416
Carroll194621
Bremer188712
Henry17917
Crawford172015
Benton165116
Tama151540
Jackson140712
Delaware139621
Washington136914
Boone132911
Dickinson132710
Mahaska124127
Wright11986
Buchanan114110
Clay11184
Hardin111310
Page11074
Clayton10665
Hamilton10657
Harrison104328
Cedar103913
Calhoun10387
Fayette10149
Floyd100914
Mills10097
Kossuth10076
Lyon9988
Poweshiek97113
Butler9566
Winneshiek93311
Iowa91712
Winnebago89723
Hancock8417
Louisa83616
Grundy82611
Sac8207
Chickasaw8174
Cherokee7984
Cass78821
Mitchell7664
Appanoose76510
Allamakee76411
Shelby7469
Humboldt7435
Union7396
Emmet73624
Guthrie73015
Franklin71221
Jefferson6742
Madison6684
Palo Alto6244
Unassigned6170
Keokuk5647
Pocahontas5512
Howard5319
Greene5140
Osceola5101
Clarke4764
Ida46411
Taylor4513
Montgomery44610
Davis4455
Monroe43712
Adair4258
Monona4182
Fremont3523
Van Buren3524
Worth3470
Lucas3206
Decatur3120
Wayne2936
Audubon2922
Ringgold1982
Adams1612
Rochester
Overcast
31° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 23°
Mason City
Overcast
32° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 24°
Albert Lea
Overcast
30° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Austin
Overcast
30° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Charles City
Overcast
34° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 26°
Sunshine Returns for Friday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

SMACK Helps Pass Along Positivity This Holiday Season

Image

Aaron's Thanksgiving Night Forecast

Image

Passing along positive notes this Thanksgiving

Image

Serving up Thanksgiving to-go

Image

Salvation Army opens its doors for Thanksgiving

Image

Canadian Honker busy with Thanksgiving takeout orders

Image

Staying home and staying safe for Thanksgiving

Image

Brightening Up A Unquie Thanksgiving

Image

Immanual Luthern Church Serves 350 Meals

Image

Chez Bojji Gives Back On Thanksgiving

Community Events