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Chinese Doctor Silenced About Coronavirus Is Dead

Li Wenliang was 34
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2020 11:05 AM CST
Updated Feb 6, 2020 4:13 PM CST
Hospital staff wash the emergency entrance of Wuhan Medical Treatment Center in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 22, 2020.   (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

(Newser) – The Chinese doctor who was visited by police after sending out an early warning about coronavirus is dead. The confirmation comes after hours of media confusion Thursday, CNN reports; Li Wenliang was initially reported dead, then reported to be in critical condition but still clinging to life, and now has again been reported dead. Li, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, was 34 and expecting his second child, per the Guardian; most patients who've died were over 60 or had underlying health problems, reports the BBC. "He died at 2:58am on Feb 7 after attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful," reads the most recent statement from Wuhan Central Hospital. "We all need to celebrate work that he did on #2019nCoV," reads a tweet from the World Health Organization, which on Thursday confirmed 564 deaths and 28,060 cases of coronavirus in China, in addition to one death and 225 cases outside of the country, per the Guardian.

Li had sent a message to his medical school alumni on Dec. 30, after several patients with a SARS-like illness were quarantined at his hospital. He warned medical professionals to be cautious and wear protective gear. Though China's highest court later acknowledged his warning might have helped contain the virus if heeded by the public, Li was pressed to sign a written statement describing his activity as "illegal." Within days, the doctor developed a cough and fever. He was hospitalized on Jan. 13, per the BBC. CNN reports he contracted the virus from one of his patients. The WHO, which plans to hold a global forum next week, is now asking for $675 million to combat the outbreak. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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