Sustainable COVID-19 Mitigation: Wuhan Lockdowns, Health Inequities, and Patient Evacuation

Document Type: Perspective

Author

1 School of Geoscience, Physics and Safety, College of Health, Science and Technology, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO, USA

2 School of Environment, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, Jilin, China

Abstract

The world is urgently looking for ways to flatten the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) curve, and many governments have resorted to implementing strict lockdowns, as researchers show the effectiveness of China’s approaches in containing the virus. However, this paper argues that the draconian lockdowns instituted in Wuhan, Hubei, China, may have actually contributed to intensifying patient surges and incapacitating local health systems. Medical aids were rushed to Hubei and new hospitals were rapidly built, however, the healthcare system was still unable to match the staggering increase of patients in the early stages of the lockdowns. The paper proposes using patient evacuation to enhance sustainable COVID-19 mitigation during lockdowns. It demonstrates that patients in Hubei could have been transported to other Chinese provinces where hospitals were under-utilized. This could have theoretically saved thousands of lives by reducing inequities between Hubei and the rest of China in healthcare capacity for treating COVID-19 patients.

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