Those who help Wuhan get through toughest time

WUHAN: The megacity of Wuhan started lifting outbound travel restrictions from Wednesday after a 76-day lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19.
In the months-long life-and-death battle, a large number of people, including medical personnel, volunteers and grassroots workers, have made selfless contributions and helped the former epicenter of the virus outbreak get through its toughest time.
Yang Xiao, a frontline doctor working in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, burst into tears on Jan. 29 when she found her baby hardly recognized her during a video call after seven days of separation.
Facing intense work, however, the 31-year-old mom had no time to be sad. “The ICU is the last line of defense for saving patients’ lives,” said Yang. “We’re racing against death.”
“At first, two or three patients needed to be rescued on each shift,” she said. “Due to the heavy protective clothing, it would take five to seven people to help a patient turn over.”
With more signs of progress in the anti-virus fight, the number of COVID-19 designated hospitals in Wuhan has dropped from a peak of 48 to the current fewer than 10.
A bright dawn was finally around the corner, according to the doctor. “There have been no patients in the ICU I worked at since March 12,” said Yang.
Besides the medical staff working around the clock, Wuhan people from all walks of life have also contributed to this battle.
From sanitation workers who keep the city clean to residents staying indoors, from hard-working community workers to delivery workers, everyday heroes in Wuhan have been shining at their posts.
When the megacity was locked down, thousands of volunteers responded quickly to play supporting roles in areas such as medical aid and psychological support.
On Feb. 3, the Communist Youth League of Wuhan issued the first public notice online to recruit volunteers, and over 7,000 people signed up in less than 12 hours after the announcement.
Another 10,000 people applied for volunteer posts on Feb. 23 within 10 hours following the city’s new recruitment drive to ensure the efficient delivery of emergency supplies and daily necessities to residents. Over 24,000 volunteers out of the total 70,000 applicants were recruited to meet the delivery needs of neighborhoods in the city.
China has mobilized its medical resources nationwide to aid Wuhan, demonstrating the great strength and effectiveness of the Chinese system.
“Behind a decline in mortality from the virus in Hubei and its provincial capital Wuhan is the concerted effort by the nation’s ICU elites,” said Chen Erzhen, head of Shanghai’s second medical team aiding Hubei.
“Every critically ill patient is taken care of by a whole ICU team, which provides life support in various ways and the best treatment scheme,” Chen said.
Over 30,000 medical staff have poured into the city from across the country. At the peak of the fight, one in 10 intensive care medics in China were working in Wuhan.
Before departing for Wuhan, Liu Lu, a nurse at the provincial people’s hospital in east China’s Jiangxi, cut her hair short. “Looking good is no longer important, I must be responsible for the safety of my patients and myself,” said the 30-year-old. – Agencies