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the coronavirus crisis

Chinese doctor who warned others of coronavirus dies

Dr. Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who was the first to sound the alarm about the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, died of the virus early Friday morning.

In late December, the 34-year-old ophthalmologist wrote a message to his medical school classmates, letting them know he was quarantined in a hospital with seven people suffering from a mystery illness. In the middle of the night, Wuhan health authorities visited Li, and asked him why he shared this information; three days later, police officers came and pushed him into signing a statement declaring his warning was "illegal behavior."

Chinese journalists and doctors have criticized the government's reaction to the outbreak, saying officials did not fully comprehend the threat of the virus and then tried to downplay the threat. Last month, Li told The New York Times if officials had shared information on the coronavirus earlier, "I think it would have been a lot better. There should be more openness and transparency."

On Jan. 10, Li treated a woman for glaucoma who did not know she had coronavirus, and he caught it from her. He was married with one child and another on the way. On Thursday, the World Health Organization said there are 28,060 confirmed coronavirus cases in China, with the death toll reaching 564. Wuhan, a city of about 11 million people, has been under lockdown for the last two weeks, in an attempt to keep the virus from spreading.