A few days later, a technician in the imaging department discovered he had been infected. Sick patients began pouring in. Soon dozens of staff were sick at Zhongnan, and other Wuhan hospitals, as well.
Most days, Dr. Zhang reviewed chest X-rays, a relatively low-risk job. Some days, she’d don a hazmat suit and tend to patients herself.
Worried she might bring the virus back home, and overloaded with work, she began sleeping on an office sofa. She barely had time to eat and shower.
She figured her parents, who lived in her home, could take care of her daughter. Her husband was living and working hundreds of miles away and unable to join them after authorities announced a strict quarantine of Wuhan in late January.
Then Dr. Zhang’s 69-year-old mother admitted to feeling sick. Dr. Zhang convinced her parents to get tested for the virus. For her mother’s first visit to the hospital, Dr. Zhang had her meet nearby, so her mother could put on protective gear before going in.
Both parents came up negative using the nucleic acid test, a finicky diagnostic tool test that regularly produced false negatives. Their CT scans told a different story.
“When I saw it, I knew,” Dr. Zhang said, recalling her mother’s first chest scan. “My heart sank.” Her father, who had been reluctant to get tested, had a lung infection that turned out to be even worse, though he showed no obvious symptoms at the time.
— Matt Murray (@murraymatt) March 4, 2020