On January 10, 2021, 4 people from Wangkui County, Suihua City, Heilongjiang Province returned to Jilin Province. They tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and subsequently caused an outbreak in Tonghua City of Jilin Province (1). On January 11, Jilin Province initiated their COVID-19 prevention and control emergency plan. China CDC and Jilin CDC jointly conducted an epidemiological investigation and traced the outbreak. Based on the findings of the investigation, Dongchang District was locked down to help stop virus transmission starting from January 20.
COVID-19 Super Spreading Event Amongst Elderly Individuals — Jilin Province, China, January 2021View author affiliations
What is already known on this topic?
Clusters of COVID-19 cases often happened in small settings (e.g., families, offices, school, or workplaces) that facilitate person-to-person virus transmission, especially from a common exposure.
What is added by this report?
On January 10 and 11, 2021, an individual gave three product promotional lectures in Tonghua City, Jilin Province, that ultimately led to a 74-case cluster of COVID-19. Our investigation determined the outbreak to be an import-related COVID-19 superspreading cluster event in which elderly, retired people were exposed to the infected individual during his promotional lectures, which were delivered in a confined space and lasted several hours.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Routine activities, such as attending a lecture in a classroom, can provide an environment conducive to COVID-19 superspreading events because respiratory viruses can spread easily and widely. We suggest local government to strengthen infection control management, reduce unnecessary indoor large gathering activities, and promote wearing of masks, especially during wintertime in the north of China. Health education for elderly people should promote use of effective personal protection and emphasize the importance of wearing masks.