A physician who worked alongside the late COVID-19 whistleblower, Dr. Li Wenliang, also passed away after contracting the disease while fighting the outbreak in Wuhan, China.
Dr. Mei Zhongming, 57, passed away at noon on Tuesday at the Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan after all rescue efforts failed, according to his employer.
Mei has practiced ophthalmology in the same department as Li at the Wuhan Central Hospital since his graduation from Zhongshan Medical University in 1986.
“He had been responsible about his work for more than 30 years, being patient and meticulous with his patients, and made important contributions to the development of his discipline,” the hospital said in a statement on Weibo.
Wuhan Central Hospital has more than 4,300 employees.
Of these workers, more than 200 staff, three vice presidents and one director of the nursing department have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to The Paper.
Li, who passed away on Feb. 7, made headlines after authorities accused him of “spreading rumors” when he warned others of the coronavirus outbreak back in December.
It’s unclear when Mei contracted SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen responsible for COVID-19.
Patients described him as having an enthusiastic demeanor, asking about their conditions sincerely and never missing out on their critical information.
At least 26 Chinese health professionals have reportedly died since the outbreak started. Among them was Dr. Liu Zhiming, director of Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, one of the first hospitals designated to combat the disease.
So far, COVID-19 has killed more than 3,200 people worldwide, while over 93,000 infections have been recorded, according to CBS News. Of these deaths, only 220 have occurred outside of mainland China, WHIO noted.