China is Seeing its Worst COVID-19 Outbreak


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China sees a COVID-19 insurgence caused by the BA.2 subvariant of omicron.

Sophia Cacoilo, Reporter

As China faces an insurgence of COVID-19 cases, the rest of the world waits anxiously to see Chinese officials’ resolution.  

The cause of this increase in cases can be pinpointed to the BA.2 subvariant of the omicron variant, a subtle but a far more infectious variation of COVID-19. The most affected areas are the two most populous cities, Shanghai and Shenzhen, making it likely the entire populace will be affected by this outbreak.

Since the beginning of March, the Omicron surge in Jilin province has caused devastating effects leading to a stay-at-home order on 4.5 million people, which is planned to be imposed on the 21st. The final nail on the head appears to have been two reported COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, the first COVID-19 deaths in the country since January 2021. 

In its worst state since Wuhan in 2020, China has reported nearly 37,000 cases this month with experts expressing great concern for the effectiveness of the “zero-COVID” policy. On March 14th, there was a report of 1,437 cases, four times from the previous week. On March 21st, 4,500 fresh cases were found across dozens of cities. 

The “zero-COVID” policy is a pandemic strategic plan which involves using public health measures such as contact tracing, mass testing, border quarantine, lockdowns and mitigation in order to stop transmission of COVID-19 as soon as it is detected. The goal of the strategy is to get the area back to no new infections and return to normal economic and social activities. 

Since the beginning of pandemic, China has used the “zero-COVID” policy to stop the spread of the virus, leading to very strict quarantine and testing rules for those who travel, robust contract tracing, and swift lockdowns and isolation periods to stop outbreaks. With this latest outbreak, China has again shut down cities and borders.

Zhang Wenhong, a renowned Shanghai physician, wrote in an article, stating, “We haven’t prepared anything of what we need to prepare. How could we possibly dare to ‘lie down’ (and allow the virus to spread)?”