COVID-19 Second Wave Predicted… How to Avoid It

There is only one thing that has kept the conversation about a second wave of the coronavirus fairly quiet.

And that’s the fact that we still seem to be battling the first wave… some eight months after the virus reached America.

Each time we think we’re starting to turn the corner on this thing, it gets worse. Nearly one-half of our states are now reporting increased numbers of confirmed cases.

Many of those states are west of the Mississippi River. Including Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Montana. Plus Texas, New Mexico, and North and South Dakota. As well as Oregon and Washington.

Viruses Thrive in Cold Weather

Regardless of whether we remain in the first wave of the virus or we’re entering the second wave, things aren’t looking good for the near future.

Now that we’re in the fall season – with winter not far behind – we’ll spend more time indoors where there’s less ventilation. That’s where there is a greater chance of transmission. Respiratory illnesses thrive in colder weather.

Those facts and others make people such as Dr. Christopher Murray sound the alarm. He’s the director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

His institute’s model reveals a “huge surge” in the virus this month. Plus acceleration in November and December. It also shows deaths from the virus rising from about 765 a day to 3,000 before year’s end. 

Reopening Works… With Precautions

At the same time that confirmed cases are increasing in many states, more places are reopening. Including restaurants and bars where people gather in close proximity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) fully supports countries reopening their economies and societies. But only if they take precautions.

A statement from this United Nations group reads as follows. “Opening up without having control is a recipe for disaster.”

Dr. Simon Clarke is an associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading. He said, “People in schools, workplaces often turn up to work with coughs and colds and spread them around to people. They can’t do that this year.”

Fauci Cautions About a Surge 

Others concerned about a fall and winter surge include infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci. He recently said this to the American Medical Association.

“You’re going to have to do a lot of things indoors out of necessity of the temperature. I’m afraid, with that being the case, if we don’t carefully follow the guidelines… the masking, the distance, the crowds, that we may see another surge.” 

Current statistics – certain to be outdated by the time you read this – show more than 7 million infections in America. And more than 200,000 deaths.

Additional illnesses mean more hospitalizations. Fewer beds will be available and more healthcare workers will become ill. 

Flu Will Complicate Matters

Another big concern regarding the fall and winter seasons is the flu. Nobody knows yet how bad it will be this time.

But even a typical flu season will stretch healthcare workers to their limits when combined with the virus.

Catherine Smallwood is a senior emergency officer at WHO Europe. Here’s what she says.

“As we approach the flu season and the winter months, there are additional factors that will conflate and add even more to that level of risk.” 

Will a Vaccine Be Effective?

We will probably start seeing COVID-19 vaccines in November or December. That’s according to Fauci.

Human trials are occurring around the world. Including six in the U.S. But even if an effective vaccine is available soon, we have a long way to go.

Fauci said returning to “normality” will probably not take place until the third or fourth quarter of 2021.

Politicians have accused each other of trying to rush a vaccine to market or delay it. Depending on how it would benefit their party in the presidential election. 

Tips to Stay Healthy

As promised, here are some ways to try to keep yourself from contracting illnesses including COVID-19 and the flu. Most you’ve heard before, but reminders can’t hurt. 

  • Keep your distance from people outside of family members. Especially if they appear to be ill. At least six feet is recommended.
  • Wear face coverings in public. One study from Cambridge University showed that if everyone wore face masks in public, it could prevent a second wave of the coronavirus for 18 months. 
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. Especially after touching surfaces outside your home. 
  • Keep your immune system strong by getting enough sleep and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes per day.
  • Keep hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes available. 
  • Don’t share food, beverages and personal items with others. Even if you believe they’re healthy.
  • Steer clear of crowded areas. That’s where viruses can spread exponentially.
  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well. It might help you recover quicker and it will definitely help those you might come in contact with.

We keep hearing we’ll get through this. I’m confident we will, but it’s going to take a concerted effort by many people. All we can do as individuals is try to keep ourselves and others healthy. Please stay safe!

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