Heat waves have swept nearly half of China in the past few days. Many places’ temperatures have risen above 40°C, but COVID-19 still rages in many areas. Taking testing samples for all residents in many places to prevent the epidemic is ongoing, and on social networks recently, there has been constant news about people suffering from heatstroke.
The sun’s heat causes heatstroke. When the body is exposed to high temperatures and high humidity, it produces more heat than it can dissipate. That leads to multiple organ failure, with a high mortality rate. Clinical manifestations mainly include a significant increase in body temperature and disturbance of consciousness, manifested as skin Dry heat, no sweat, body temperature up to 40°C and above, delirium, coma, etc. In addition, there may be generalized epilepsy-like seizures, rhabdomyolysis, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.
Heatstroke, coma, and even death frequently happen to many people, including PCR testing staff wearing protective clothing in the hot sun.
On July 14, at a PCR test site in a community in Nanchang, a medical worker named Xie Chunhua suddenly fainted and convulsed. According to reports, the temperature that day reached 38°C.
In a video that has gone viral online, two medical workers were sitting helplessly on a stone bench under the shade of an outdoor tree, and residents stood beside to fan them.
On July 15, the account @lilyval15187063 said: “Suspecting Hangzhou medical workers had collective heatstrokes.” The post included a screenshot of a conversation discussing the case of 4 patients who were medical workers who died just within 5 hours.
The screenshot read: “It feels great to be alive. After going to the emergency room, I woke up from a 15 minute coma. The doctor came and told me that my two roommates had died from heatstroke. At that time I was sweating; I had a cold, very severe, very uncomfortable, could not breathe, my body convulsed, my stomach swelled… From 5:30 to 10:30, 4 patients came into my room, and all of them died. I was so scared that I broke out in a cold sweat, and now my heart is still beating fast.”
The account @YK643590 posted a video of a person believed to be a Big White (Dabai) epidemic prevention worker experiencing a critical condition due to heatstroke. The post read: “Dabai suffered from heatstroke at 38°C. In addition to highlighting the greatness of the medical staff, the CCP will not let them take off their protective clothing and work outdoors. Because once you do, they will claim to be lying,” (implying that the epidemic is not so dangerous that it is necessary to wear hazmat suits constantly).
The official Health Times website reported on July 17 that Chen Ruishen, assistant professor at the National University of Singapore, published a paper in the Small academic journal in February this year. In it, he pointed out that in an environment of 35°C, wearing a protective suit and working for one hour can cause the temperature inside the protective suit to rise to 64°C.
The research team of Zhang Wenhong, a professor at Huashan Hospital, released a document on the Official Account on the 16th. It said protective suits could not dissipate heat once the ambient temperature exceeds 35°C. Therefore, if medical staff wear hazmat suits, all heat dissipation paths are obstructed, causing the body temperature to rise rapidly, causing heatstroke.
Not only that, during Guangzhou’s response to the outbreak caused by the COVID-19 Delta virus variant last June, Guangzhou Medical University surveyed 3,658 doctors and nurses still clinging to epidemic prevention under the scorching sun. Among them, 80% sweat a lot, 55.2% have difficulty breathing, and 46.8% are excessively dehydrated, according to Red Star.
In addition, 74% of them had facial swelling due to the upper body of the protective suit, 56,7% of them had chafing on their hands, and even 49.3% of them lost their vision.
On July 16, the People’s Government of Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province officially announced to prevent heatstroke among medical staff, staff who took outdoor PCR testing samples in Nanchang will not wear protective clothing, but disposable isolation clothing.
According to Shanxi Evening News, on July 15, 3 cases of heatstroke died in Nanchong, Sichuan. The emergency doctor at Nanchong Central Hospital said: The first male patient, about 70 years old, with a heat stroke, was admitted to the hospital at 9 o’clock on July 9. He fainted from heat stroke while out working in the field. On July 14, the doctor admitted a 70-year-old heat stroke patient. He began to fall into a coma on the morning of the 14th. He was taken to the hospital in a state of cardiac arrest and eventually died.
On the morning of July 14, at the PCR testing site of the Community Health Service Center in Jiading town, Shanghai, a medical worker had symptoms of heatstroke such as dizziness, chest tightness, etc.
On July 9, a medical worker in Zhumadian, Henan Province, suddenly vomited when he took off his protective suit to rest and collapsed on the ground.
According to China News Weekly, on July 5, a construction worker in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, fell ill on the way home from work due to a heatstroke. He passed away in the early morning of the next day, July 6, and was diagnosed with multiple organ failure (heart, brain, lung, kidney, etc). The daughter said that her father, under 56 years old, is the main financial person in the family. He works odd jobs to earn money to pay for his younger brother’s tuition fees who is about to become a university student.
On July 4, Liu Li, an employee of Qishan District Hospital, Shaanxi Province fainted from heat stroke when she went to the county central elementary school to take samples.
On the same day, a nurse from the Wuxi Medical Team supported by Suzhou suddenly fainted from heat stroke while climbing the stairs to do PCR tests for people.
According to The Paper, an emergency doctor at Zhejiang Central Hospital in Lishui city said: “A 49-year-old male patient was brought in by a worker on the afternoon of July 6. He suddenly lost consciousness while working in the factory. On admission, he was in shock, and his body temperature was 40.7°C. The patient died due to multi-organ dysfunction syndrome (a condition in which at least 2 of the vital organs of the body are simultaneously impaired, including liver, lung, cardiovascular, kidney, …) with disseminated intravascular coagulation.”
An emergency doctor at the hospital affiliated with Zhejiang University Medical School said: “More than 10 patients with heatstroke, including one with severe heatstroke, have been admitted to the emergency room in the past two days. “