Coronavirus ‘could kill more people than two world wars combined’: Wuhan doctor

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The director of a makeshift hospital for coronavirus patients in Wuhan built during the peak of the city’s epidemic offers a stark warning on the dangers of the crisis now facing other countries, saying the virus could kill more people than both World Wars combined, and cities like New York must do better.

“This infectious disease could kill more people than World War I and II combined. This is very dangerous. In this situation it is extremely unwise for all kinds of political forces to only consider their own political needs and ignore the lives of ordinary people,” said Wang Xinghuan, director of the Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan.

The hospital director also spoke on the face mask issue, and whether the precautionary measure was more of a cultural or medical issue.

“When I talked to doctors in New York one doctor said this is a cultural difference. Hong Kong Phoenix Television also asked me this question. I would like all the media here to share this message - it is not about culture, there are scientific grounds for using face masks for protection, it is very much recognized,” he added.

Wang also spoke about the reasons why the epidemic is so serious now in New York.

“This was a failure we experienced early on in Wuhan. That was isolating at home. Some patients with mild symptoms were allowed to return home and isolate there but later we realized this was a big failure. So later the purpose of the field hospitals was to let those patients with mild symptoms to all come to the field hospital,” Wang said.

The global coronavirus death toll topped 100,000 as Easter weekend celebrations around the world kicked off in near-empty churches with billions of people stuck indoors to halt the pandemic.

Extraordinary measures from New York to Naples to New Delhi have seen businesses and schools closed in a desperate bid to halt the virus’s spread, and the IMF has warned that the world now faces the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

More than 102,000 people have died of COVID-19 with 1.7 million infections detected globally, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker, with nearly 70 percent of the fatalities in Europe.

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