It was probably China's biggest propaganda coup of the coronavirus outbreak: announcing and building two completely new hospitals in a timeframe that was almost incomprehensible in the West.
Chinese state media poured into desperate construction efforts when first the Huoshenshan and then the Leishenshan Hospital appeared out of nowhere, the first in 10 days and the second in 12 days.
They should provide the victims of the outbreak with much-needed new beds: 1,000 in Huoshenshan and 1,600 in Leishenshan.
—China Xinhua News (@XHNews) February 7, 2020
The official Xinhua news agency called the quick turnaround "Mission impossible made possible." Cameras inspected the newly built facilities and found that patients had already been admitted.
However, official data show that the actual benefits of the hospitals do not yet match the pace or spectacle of their construction, as the facilities have less than half of their planned 2,600 capacity.
Here is a graph showing the number of beds reported by local officials per day:
This graphic shows the raw data:
|date||Leishenshan beds||Huoshenshan beds|
By February 12, both hospitals had a total of only 1,136 of 2,600 available beds – less than half of the patients for whom they were ultimately intended.
It is not clear what is responsible for the discrepancy between the fictitious capacity of hospitals and reality.
According to the GuardianThere is a lack of space in other parts of the city, as exhibition centers and sports halls are being turned into temporary medical facilities.
The virus has killed at least 1,360 people and infected more than 60,000 worldwide. Most cases have been recorded in Hubei Province, where Wuhan is the largest city.
On Thursday, Hubei officials reported an enormous increase of 14,840 additional infections.
Earlier this month, Officials said The large hospitals had to reject patients because they lacked beds and adequate medical resources.
"Wuhan's medical resources, particularly the intensive care team, are insufficient to cope with this severe treatment," said Jiang Rongmeng, a member of the Chinese National Health Commission team earlier this month The Wall Street Journal,
State news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday that the number of designated hospitals in Wuhan that treat coronavirus patients has increased to 40. The two new hospitals would be used to treat patients in severe or critical conditions.