From Amy Qin, a China correspondent, and Elsie Chen, a researcher, on the ground in Wuhan:
Weak with fever, An Jianhua waited in line for seven hours outside the hospital in the cold, hoping to be tested for the new coronavirus, which doctors suspected she had contracted.
Ms. An, 67, needed an official diagnosis from a hospital to qualify for treatment, but the one she and her son raced to last week had no space. The next hospital they were referred to in Wuhan, the city of 11 million people at the center of the outbreak, was full, too, they said. They finally got an intravenous drip for Ms. An’s fever, but that was all.
Since then, Ms. An has quarantined herself at home. She and her son eat separately, wear masks and are constantly disinfecting their apartment. Ms. An’s health is declining rapidly, and even keeping water down is a struggle.
“I can’t let my mom die at home,” said her son, He Jun. “Every day I want to cry, but when I cry there are no tears. There is no hope.”
For some people, like Gan Hanjiang, the city’s new hospitals for treating the coronavirus cannot be built fast enough.
Last month, his father came down with a severe fever and cough. He was tested for the coronavirus, but the results were negative. Ten days after the onset of symptoms, however, his father died, Mr. Gan said.
The hospital classified the cause as “severe pneumonia,” Mr. Gan said, but he believes it was the coronavirus. Several experts have recently conceded that several rounds of testing may be needed for an accurate diagnosis.