A trompe l’oeil “China’s victory over the Covid-19”?


Since mid-March, China has been showing more and more signs of an end to the Covid-19 crisis. Yet, according to Benjamin Cowling, epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong, not only has it not finished treating the first wave, but it is “inevitable” that a second wave of epidemic will appear in the Middle Empire. . Analysis.

Never sell the bear skin before you kill it” A maxim that the Chinese government has forgotten, according to the words of Benjamin Cowling, epidemiologist emeritus of the University of Hong Kong, who also works with the Center for the Study of the Dynamics of Communicable Diseases at Harvard. According to him, Beijing wanted to finish too quickly with the coronavirus, at the risk of allowing a second generalized wave to hit the country.

Indeed, as the epidemic wears off, China is trying somehow to get the machine going, while the rest of the world is still almost at a standstill. In the least affected provinces, children are gradually returning to school, the roads are again busy and, as Mary-Françoise Renard explained at the microphone of Sputnik, the resumption of economic activity in China “is a reality

A Chinese daily newspaper even headlined on March 24: “China’s victory over Covid-19” A message encouraged by the government, which has distributed vouchers to individuals, to be exchanged for goods or services, in order to stimulate household consumption. The vice mayor of Shanghai even said last week, “you can instill confidence in the whole city and even in the whole world by removing these masks” But didn’t Beijing claim victory too quickly? For Benjamin Cowling, there is no doubt. And it may even cost the Middle Empire a lot.

“Because most of China did not really have a significant number of infections during the first wave, the population remains very vulnerable and may be affected by a major epidemic. Sooner or later, a second wave is inevitable. Totally inevitable. There is no doubt, “warns the epidemiologist.

According to him, the fact that many Chinese provinces outside of Hubei have had very little exposure to the virus makes these populations particularly vulnerable. Nathan Vanderklippe, a correspondent for the Globe and Mail in Beijing, says that while the containment rules are still formally in place, the forces involved to enforce them are much more lax than they were a few weeks ago.

No large second wave, Chinese officials say

The great fear of epidemiologist Benjamin Cowling is what he calls the “silent spread” He fears that infected individuals, but showing no symptoms, will move to the least affected provinces and create epidemic nests, causing a second wave nationwide. There is also fear from Chinese nationals returning from abroad, who may also be healthy carriers.

The Chinese medical officials are unanimous, however, it is very unlikely that a second epidemic wave of the Covid-19 will spread, and even if it would be controlled:

“I don’t think there will be a large-scale epidemic in the future. If we absorb all the experience we have accumulated and stick to the regulations in place to fight it, we will contain a future epidemic, “said Ma Jin, director of the School of Public Health at Jiaotong University. Shanghai.

Despite his optimism about the health future of China, Ma Jin remains lucid about the work that this requires and is aware of the danger that this virus can cause, and of the long battles that will have to be fought to defeat it.

“The fight against this coronavirus will be a long-term battle. We need to be prepared not only for a second wave, but for every day and every month, until a vaccine is successfully produced and proven to work. ”


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