Beijing Reported First Death From Wuhan Pneumonia, Patient Co-mingled With Countless People

January 30, 2020 Updated: January 30, 2020
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Beijing reported its first death from Wuhan coronavirus on Jan. 28.

Yang Jun, 50, attended a conference in Wuhan on Jan. 8. After returning to Beijing, he developed a fever on Jan. 15.

Yang did not seek treatment until Jan. 21; and was confirmed to have been infected with Wuhan pneumonia at Haidian District Center of Disease Control the next day. His situation deteriorated and he died on Jan. 27 due to respiratory failure.

Chinese state media expressed concerns that Yang had been exposed to or in contact with a large number of people before he was diagnosed.

Yang attended a parent meeting at High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China, his daughter’s school, on Jan. 20. More than 600 parents were at this meeting and seated in the same auditorium.

Yang is a high-level figure at Shanghai Electric Group and executive president of China Commercial Value Association. Chinese state media did not reveal his current position at Shanghai Electric Group, but did say that he is former vice president of Trina Solar, a solar energy company.

An internal document from Shanghai Electric Group indicated that after Yang left Wuhan, he took a high speed train to Shanghai on Jan. 12, left Shanghai for Zhengzhou in Henan Province the same afternoon, and then returned to Beijing.

His travels covered five provinces in central China, eastern China, and northern China. The number of people he exposed to the virus at the meeting and on the trains could be considerable.

A Twitter user with the account name “An” revealed additional details. “Yang’s daughter is also infected with the virus. She is in grade 12 now. If the authorities had informed the public of the outbreak earlier, Yang could have gone to a hospital earlier and taken precautions to protect his daughter. Seeking medical care earlier may even have saved his life. Now Yang has passed away, his daughter has been infected, and I am concerned about his wife. Not sure if she can withstand the pain.”

Chinese authorities initially denied that the disease could be transmitted between humans, although there had already been several cases of human-to-human infection.

On Jan. 20, Zhong Nanshan, a leading scientist for China’s Health Commission, officially announced at a press conference in Beijing that the disease can spread from human to human. Yang sought treatment the day after the announcement.