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The terror of the ‘white lungs’: testimonies from a Chinese hospital overwhelmed by Covid

The Pandemic spreads in the Asian country. Older adults show serious pictures and doctors can’t cope.

Wheeled stretchers pushed with the energy of desperation, serious faces behind their masks. For more than a month, the Langfang hospital in China has been fighting an Pandemic that has taken the rural surroundings by surprise. Cereals, vegetables and fruits were grown here when they all suddenly fell ill.

Because of lack of roompatients collapse in the hallways or lie on the ground. A relative accompanies a 79-year-old man who had to wait several days in the emergency room before being admitted.

“Of course it’s Covid-19,” he tells RFI. “Everyone here has caught it! We waited downstairs for three days. The doctors say the dead are old, but no one came to see us. Every time they told us: “There are no beds. If you don’t have contacts, don’t even think about coming here,” he emphasizes.

Every room in the respiratory care ward is occupied by six patients, including a 74-year-old grandmother, who can’t believe she’s still alive.

Covid patients at a hospital in the north Chinese city of Tangshan. Photo: AFP

“Last Friday I couldn’t open my eyes,” he says. “Walking between the living room and my room was impossible. My son first took me to the emergency room at the Popular Hospital, but there were so many people that we couldn’t even sit down. Then they did an X-ray of the lungs. They told me: ‘Your lungs have turned white, all parts are infected’. My little sister freaked out when she saw this. I don’t know how she did it, but she found me a place here!” she explains.

Marks of infection

White lungs. This is how the infection manifests itself in the scans that flood social networks, while the wave of Covid 19 worsens in China. Near the eighth floor elevators, about makeshift cots they allow the most tired to rest or cry.

Suddenly, a stretcher goes through the swing doors in the direction of the emergency room with a new patient. “My father is 74 years old. This time he is too sick. His lungs are white. I have seen other patients on the ward who also have white lungs. But with milder symptoms, it is possible to overcome it. In this case, we don’t know. They took him away, but the doctors say that nothing is certain. We haven’t told mom,” confesses the patient’s daughter, who has just seen her father leave on a stretcher.

Care for covid patients is delayed in many hospitals in China, overwhelmed by the new wave.  Photo: AFP

Care for covid patients is delayed in many hospitals in China, overwhelmed by the new wave. Photo: AFP

nothing is certain with this Pandemic, whose epicenter was the Hebei region in mid-December.

Today, the youngest have recovered and normal life has resumed, says the propaganda. But not in the hospital, where the elderly, in critical condition, continue to flock.

“People are coming from neighboring counties,” says a head nurse. “The hospital is still under pressure and you have to take a number in the queue if you hope to get a bed. Many old people have died. We are all doing everything we can to save them, but their “Bodies are too weak to fight this virus. It’s actually a disease that decimates older aunts and uncles. And it’s very expensive to stay in intensive care,” he remarks.

Hospitalization costs are unaffordable for most families.

The same goes for funerals; here, too, the fees for crematoriums overwhelmed by this “white lung” Pandemic have increased. An Pandemic that, officially, causes few or no victims.

Source: RFI


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