A new wave of infections from COVID-19 could be sending 108 million people in China back into quarantine. The northeastern region of China has seen a large group of new infections and is considering reversing their decision to go back to normal. The Jilin Province in particular is rethinking their decision to end quarantine after experiencing a large wave of new cases. The province is taking steps to be more cautious. Children are again being necessitated to wear masks while playing outside and people are taking social distancing precautions when out in public.
The new wave of COVID-19 cases is igniting everyone’s worst fear of a second outbreak. However, there is hope to be had in the fact that these new cases are nowhere near the scale of the initial outbreak in China. Other regions of China - such as Wuhan, where the initial outbreak started - are also seeing new cases emerge.
Over the weekend, Jilin reported over 120 new coronavirus cases. China initially thought the outbreak was due to travelers to the region but, after further epidemiologic study, they discovered there was also local transmission of the virus.
How China handles this outbreak will likely set the protocol for potential second outbreaks in other countries. China has been at the center of attention during this pandemic. They were the first country to report the COVID-19 cases, and they have been accused of lying about their numbers and different reports during the coronavirus outbreak. They have also been accused of sitting on lifesaving information and how severe this pandemic could get for other countries. For these reasons, some are concerned with China’s truthfulness during this second outbreak; they do not believe their numbers reported or their response.Despite the controversy, China is not trying to improve its image. They are cutting off trading partners and imposing imports on other countries. For example, Beijing recently imposed an 80.5 percent tariff on Australia for beef. They have also attacked Taiwan by trying to silence their doctors and experts. They did not allow Taiwan a seat at the World Health Assembly. This was despite Taiwan being the first to warn the world of human-to-human transmission of the disease.
In April, Trump suspended funding to the World Health Organization due to it being “china-centric.” Trump claimed that the WHO had put political correctness over life-saving measures. However, in light of the second wave of COVID-19, the President of the United States may very well reissue funding. The severity of the outbreak in China will likely play a role in this decision.