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News > China

New Outbreak Might Happen in the Fall, Chinese Expert Says

  • A Jilin University hospital sanitary waits at the airport to leave the city, Wuhan, China, April 7, 2020.

    A Jilin University hospital sanitary waits at the airport to leave the city, Wuhan, China, April 7, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 8 April 2020

Due to national differences in the treatment of the pandemic, it is "unlikely" that the COVID-19 spread will end this year.

Shanghai's COVID-19 Clinical Expert Team director Zhang Wenhong warned of the high probability of a second international wave of infections occurring next fall.


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"Europe and the U.S. have not been effectively controlled for the time being. In Africa, South America and India, where the economy is less developed and medical resources are insufficient, new cases have increased exponentially, which brings great uncertainty to the global fight against the epidemic" he said as reported by local outlet Caixin.

The Chinese physician added that it is "unlikely" that the COVID-19 pandemic will end this summer and predicts that it will last "until next year."

Asked about China's defenses against a new outbreak of the pandemic abroad, Zhang, who is also the Huashan Hospital's Infectious Diseases Department director, said his country should not relax prevention.

“Once the system shows laxness, there may be missed cases. What is needed now is to maintain the existing prevention and control system and make it a new norm.”​​​​​​​

China will also have to face the resumption of economic activities while the actions to avoid a rebound are put in place.​​​​​​​ However, the Chinese restrictions cannot eliminate the risk of importing new cases because of the existence of asymptomatic people.

"The disease control system should track every person with close contact to COVID-19 patients with no blind spots," Zhang demanded.

Regarding the fatality rates in different countries, he explained that the differences depend on how governments define priorities for testing and treating patients.

“The fatality rate is the ratio of the number of deaths to the number of all cases reported. If a country prioritizes severe patients in testing and treatment, its fatality rate will be high. In a country where testing is more common and a lot of mild patients are tested and quarantined at home, the overall fatality rate will be reduced," Zhang said.

He added that the death toll is also related to the burden on medical resources caused by numerous severe cases in each country.​​​​​​​


Zhang Wenhong
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