British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier this week that the new surges of coronavirus cases are due to a “second wave” of the disease. But experts say the we’re still struggling with the ebb and flow of the first devastating wave.
While many countries such as Australia, Belgium and Spain saw a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases, they are now experiencing spikes in numbers of infected.
According to The Washington Post, epidemiologist Loren Lipworth from Vanderbilt University Medical Center said, “We’re still in the first wave. As we ease up on restrictions, there is always going to be a resurgence of cases. It’s not that it’s a new wave of the virus.”
In order to experience a second viral wave of a disease, countries essentially have to get down to zero cases, said Dr. David Weber, professor of medicine and an infectious disease expert at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
“If you got down to no cases it would potentially count as a second wave,” he said, according to the Post. He predicted that the coronavirus “will wax and wane. It’s worldwide now. It’s not going away.”
And it won’t follow a flu-like pattern, either, said experts, who point out that the coronavirus doesn’t appear to be affected by the weather, like the flu virus. Confirmed cases have soared even in hot climates.
Professor Marc Lipsitch. professor of epidemiology and the Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that while there may be a slight downgrade in its activity, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will not be humbled by heat, he wrote in a recent article.
“We may expect modest declines in the contagiousness of SARS-CoV-2 in warmer, wetter weather and perhaps with the closing of schools in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. However, it is not reasonable to expect these declines alone to slow transmission enough to make a big dent,” said Lipsitch.
“Singapore, which lies near the equator, has had significant transmission,” he added.
The World Health Organization has called the pandemic “one big wave,” and WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said the idea of a second wave is flawed, according to Yahoo! News. She said people should consider the virus as a single wave. The dangers of transmission remain year-round, Harris said, adding that we “need to get our heads around” the fact this new virus isn’t behaving the way previous respiratory viruses did by abating in warm weather.
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