Over the past two weeks we have reported on several occasions that hidden behind Beijing’s endless barrage of lies that “all is well”, China – which rushed to reopen the country in March long before the epidemic was eradicated from the mainland – is starting to suffer a second wave of coronavirus despite the government solemn vows that all new cases are imported.
Needless to say, the last thing the global economy – which is mostly shut down everywhere but in China – can take is another Chinese lockdown.
And yet, that’s precisely what may be coming. According to Caixin, China could see another surge in coronavirus infections starting in November, one of the country’s highest-profile medical experts has said, as low numbers of new cases prompt governments nationwide to get people back to work.
While countries may be able to bring the deadly pandemic under adequate control by autumn, the coming winter may bring a “second wave” of infections in China and elsewhere, said Zhang Wenhong, who heads Shanghai’s Covid-19 clinical expert team and directs the infectious disease department at one of the city’s top hospitals.
Zhang’s comments come as Chinese officials gradually ease quarantine restrictions as part of efforts to revive the country’s economy. The East Asian nation, where the previously unknown virus was first detected last year, has seen numbers of daily new cases fall in recent weeks after recording thousands of Covid-19-related deaths and rolling out unprecedented lockdowns.
Speaking Saturday during an online livestream broadcast by popular short-video platform Kuaishou, Zhang said China’s experience with disease control means any resurgence in infections later this year will be manageable, and not require a repeat of the dramatic measures taken to curb the virus’s initial spread.
“China won’t implement any shutdowns, and imported cases will certainly still make up the bulk of the outbreak,” Zhang said. In recent weeks, Beijing has been reporting that infected people traveling into China have made up the vast majority of the country’s new confirmed cases. Of course, Beijing has not been reporting that there were several thousand more urns mysteriously appearing in Wuhan than “official” deaths, so frankly when it comes to Chinese data, it’s all a lie.
Like other public health experts, Zhang expects that in the long term, countries will have to take a flexible approach to recurring outbreaks. “For a long time, epidemic prevention and control will go through periods of relaxation and tightening. It will be possible to live and work normally, but it probably won’t be possible to completely eradicate the outbreaks,” he said.
That means countries must continue to fight the pandemic together even after their initial domestic outbreaks have peaked, Zhang said, adding: “Only when all nations have properly controlled the disease will we all be able to live well again.”
It wasn’t clear just how China would fight its next pandemic without shutting down the entire nation, when that’s precisely what China did in February, and the result has been a historic surge in defaults and delinquencies which Beijing has yet to address even as China’s economy fails to reboot.
Aggressive testing and contact tracing, combined with immediate hospitalization of confirmed cases, is the secret to effective epidemic control, Zhang said, perhaps unaware that China did none of those and instead simply dragged the sick away to some unknown place while putting down whole towns and provinces under complete lockdown.
But what may be most troubling of all, is that if China indeed suffers its next wave in November, that is right around the time when Morgan Stanley predicted the US will be hit by a second coronavirus wave as well.
Incidentally, as we reported earlier today, according to BofA’s latest Fund Managers Survey, a second, more powerful and economically crippling wave of infections similar to the one observed during the Spanish Flu…
… is now the biggest “tail risk” facing investors.
In that case, investors are about to be hit with a perfect storm some time in November/December when not just China but also the US are shut down for a second time. We only bring this up for those who – after watching the recent market surge with a dumbfounded expression on their face – are considering what month to pin their calendar put spread on. Well, now you know.