Some Filipinos offered prayers to commemorate the coronavirus whistleblower Chinese physician Li Weinlang, who had warned his colleagues about the virus infections in Wuhan, China before.
Li, an ophthalmologist at the Wuhan Central Hospital, died on Feb. 7, 2020, of the very disease he was telling his colleagues about. This was less than a week after he shared he tested positive for the virus.
Reports said that Li warned his medical school classmates via WeChat group message about an outbreak of undiagnosed pneumonia in the hospital on Dec. 30, 2019.
A screenshot of his message was leaked online, a day before Chinese authorities made an announcement that 27 cases of viral pneumonia of an unknown case had been detected.
The patients had a history of exposure to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
By Jan. 1, 2020, the police of Wuhan said that they were punishing eight people for “spreading rumors.” These included Li.
On February 1 of the same year, Li shared on social media that his “nucleic acid test” had turned positive. He got hospitalized and lost his life less than a week later.
His death triggered a public outrage against the Chinese government perceived to be suppressing information during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moment of silence for Li
Among those who commemorated Li on his second death anniversary is Filipino physician Tony Leachon, former special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
He shared a post originally written by a physician with the Twitter handle @Cleavon_MD, who claims to be an emergency medicine doctor and Iraq War veteran. It reads:
“Moment of silence for 33 y.o. Dr. Li Wenliang, ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital in China. On February 7, 2020 he died from COVID after warning the world of a mysterious pneumonia in late December 2019. #SoulsLostToCovid”
Leachon shared the same post on his Facebook page and added the physician’s Twitter handle.
It has earned 4,300 likes and reactions so far.
Leachon’s followers similarly offered prayers to the deceased physician in the comments section.
“Rest in peace, Doc and thank you for the effort to warn the world…” a Facebook user wrote.
“Thank you for your concern and effort to warn the world. Prayers for your eternal rest,” another online user wrote with a folding hands emoji.
“Thank you for raising the alarm… Rest in peace!” a different Filipino commented in the post.
“Rest in peace, Doc. So young to die… but so big a mission (you) fulfilled in life,” wrote another Facebook user with clapping hands emojis.
In February 2020, the World Health Organization announced that the new infectious disease would be called COVID-19, short for coronavirus disease 2019.
The new virus was also called SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.
In March 2020, the United Nations health agency declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.