The Chinese doctor who tried to warn others about the Wuhan coronavirus has died, according to several state media reports.
Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old doctor working in Wuhan, raised the alarm about the novel coronavirus in December, posting in his medical school alumni group on the Chinese messaging app WeChat that seven patients from a local seafood market had been diagnosed with a SARS-like illness and were quarantined in his hospital.
Soon after he posted the message, Li was accused of rumor-mongering by the Wuhan police. He was one of several medics targeted by police for trying to blow the whistle on the deadly virus in the early weeks of the outbreak, which has sickened more than 28,000 people and killed more than 560.
Li was hospitalized on January 12 after he contracted the virus from one of his patients, and he was confirmed to have the coronavirus on February 1.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization responded to news of Li’s death on Twitter, writing “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Li Wenliang. We all need to celebrate work that he did on #2019nCoV.”
The death toll and number of people infected by the Wuhan coronavirus continues to grow, with no signs of slowing despite severe quarantine and population control methods put in place in central China.
The number of confirmed cases globally stood at 28,275 as of Thursday, with more than 28,000 of those in China. The number of cases in China grew by 3,694, or 15%, on the previous day. There have been 565 deaths so far, all but two of which were in China, with one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.