China’s medical system is under tremendous strain due to the unexpected rise in COVID infections. The healthcare system is fragile, faced with an unprecedented COVID outbreak wave. Dead bodies occupy every nook and cranny in funeral homes. Hospitals are full of critically ill patients with staffing shortages. 

A Chinese doctor named “Dr. Zeng” uploaded a video on Weibo on December 29, saying: “Patients keep dying and doctors keep falling down. This is the current situation.”

In an interview with CCTV on the evening of December 25, Zhu Huadong, director of the emergency department of Peking Union Medical College Hospital, stated that this was the most challenging time in his 30 years of medical practice.

Zhu said that his hospital saw up to 80% of patients in emergency departments in the past few days. The hospital faces an unprecedented challenge because of the high proportion of critically ill patients.

Shanghai’s healthcare system is similarly overburdened. An online video shows critically ill patients breathing oxygen by the side of the road due to a lack of beds. The video occurred on December 27 at the Zhongshan Hospital, affiliated with Fudan University in Shanghai.

Many frontline doctors and surgeons were infected while working at Ruijin Hospital, affiliated with Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine. In the pharmacy department, around 80% of the staff had positive COVID tests.

A surge in cases across China put this country’s medical workers and the health care system under pressure. Since then, some hospitals have asked sick staff to continue working.

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