Coronavirus infects 42,638 in China

Andrew Gilkey, World News Editor

According to Chinese officials, the number of coronavirus infections in the subcontinent risen to 42,638. Likewise, the death toll risen: 1,016 people have died from the illness Feb 11, which has surpassed the rates of death and infection during the 2003 SARS epidemic. The World Health Organization is now being let into China, with an advance team being sent. The team will be overseen by Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. 

Wuhan remains the epicenter of the illness, but cases have been reported in countries like the U.S., Japan and England. The New York Times reports that nearly a third of all patients with coronavirus in Tianjin, China, were connected to a single shopping center. Officials estimated that 12,000 people had been to that shopping center since January. 

A Holland American cruise ship containing 2,200 people was refused entry to any ports for fear that its passengers may be infected with the illness, though there have been no confirmed signs of infection on the ship. Hong Kong has also had 42 cases of coronavirus confirmed by health official. Dr. Wong Ka-hing of the Centre for Health Protection told Reuters that the government was investigating the suspected environmental transmission of two cases in a building connected with the infection. In the U.S., a 13th American had contracted the virus as Feb. 11. 

During the panic of the infection, the Chinese government has targeted several whistleblowers. Professor of law Xu Zhangrun published an essay titled “When Fury Overcomes Fear”’ in which he accused Xi Jinping, the leader of China, of failing to address the infection in a timely manner. Friends of the professor have told The New York Times that Xu Zhangrun was placed on house arrest. 

Dr. Li Wenliang, a whistleblower who was a voice for the infected people and against the Chinese government, died of the illness at the age of 33 on Feb. 10. The song “Remembrance” played in a quarantine zone 24 hours after his death as a tribute to the doctor. According to the Los Angeles Times, in the wake of his death, a group of scholars wrote an open letter to the National Congress demanding that freedom of speech be reinstated in the nation. The party replied “Trust the Communist Party’s leadership.”