While countries like South Korea and China have been praised for reducing cases of the COVID-19 virus, a continued increase in daily case counts shows how the threat of new outbreaks looms even after flattening the curve. South Korea has officially called these new outbreaks a "second wave" of infections, but comparing numbers from both countries, China is in a similar situation. Both China and South Korea had reduced domestic cases to zero or close to zero for a while and recorded only a few imported cases. Considering they have now departed from that situation, South Korea decided to declare the second wave.
After COVID-19 broke out in China at the end of 2019, the country finally began flattening the curve in February. Even better, South Korea has been heralded as the leading example for quickly testing for and isolating cases of COVID-19.
Still, these cases being recorded now in both countries are only a sliver of daily case counts in the U.S. and other countries, but even modest increases show how the threat of a new major outbreak may be just weeks or days away if social distancing and testing measures are loosened. South Korea and China have both re-implemented some COVID-19 restrictions due to these developments.
The U.S. may be a grim example of how re-opening too quickly can lead to spikes in cases and further outbreaks, as state governments deal with hurried plans to re-open businesses amid protests and pressure from federal officials.