This morning I got caught up on what’s happening with the coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, but that is now spreading quickly across mainland China. It’s unsettling. As of Saturday, there were over 1,287 confirmed cases in mainland China and 41 deaths. Right now, the belief is that the virus emerged from a seafood and meat market in Wuhan.
The Wuhan virus belongs to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which includes the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that broke out in 2003 and killed 44 people in Canada alone. Typically, these viruses have jumped from animals (such as bats and pigs) to humans. The WSJ has a good summary of what is currently known about this coronavirus strain.
All of this has overwhelmed hospitals in Wuhan and the videos accounts are heartbreaking to watch. The government has responded by vowing to build two new hospitals in order to fight the outbreak. But get this: the projected completion times are 10 and 15 days, respectively. The second hospital, to be called Leishenshan Hospital, is expected to house about 1,300 beds.
I can’t even get a government signature on a single legal document within 10 to 15 days, and so it’s unfathomable to imagine building an entire hospital within that same period of time. Some of the media is calling this “infrastructure propaganda.” i.e. Look over here at all we’re doing for you. But there’s clearly a need and, if ever there was a time to move with a sense of urgency, now would be it.