Wuhan police had reprimanded Li Wenliang after the ophthalmologist warned a chat group of fellow doctors in late December of the possible return of SARS.
A doctor in Wuhan who was one of the eight whistleblowers police reprimanded in early January for “spreading rumors” about a mysterious pneumonia has become infected with the coronavirus that causes it.
“Today’s nucleic acid (novel coronavirus) test came back positive. Everything is settled now — it’s finally confirmed,” Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, wrote Saturday morning on his Weibo microblog. His workplace, Wuhan Central, is one of the city’s designated medical facilities for admitting and treating suspected and confirmed coronavirus patients.
Prior to his diagnosis, Li had been working on the front lines of the epidemic. Around Jan. 10, he developed a cough and fever, and later had to be admitted to an intensive care unit. His parents were hospitalized with similar symptoms.
In a separate post Friday, Li recounted how, on Dec. 30, he had examined the medical report of a patient whose condition seemed strikingly similar to SARS, also caused by a coronavirus. Li decided to share this discovery with his former medical school classmates so that they might take appropriate precautions. In their class WeChat group, he sent a message that read: “Seven cases of SARS confirmed.”
“After I sent the message, the police found me and made me sign an official letter of criticism,” Li said. According to a photo of the letter included in Li’s post …
… the police chastised him on Jan. 3 for “making untrue comments” that had “severely disturbed the social order.”