AWhen Zhang’s grandmother was admitted to a clinic in rural China at the end of December with a severe corona infection, the village doctors initially only gave her antibiotics. “In the countryside, this is the usual method for fevers,” says her grandson, who lives in Beijing. “There is little knowledge about Corona in rural areas.” The ventilator and antiviral drugs that may have saved old Ms. Zhang’s life were bought by her family themselves. Not in the rural district of Shanxi Province where the village clinic is located, but in Beijing and in Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi. The old woman only got the bed in the overcrowded village clinic, where corona patients died every day during her stay, through family contacts.
Blood reserves were also scarce. Her daughter and brother had to donate for her. “We can only treat the symptoms. We don’t have any good solutions for the disease itself,” says an employee of the clinic, who does not want to be named. He says no more. His boss has forbidden him to speak to journalists.