Coronavirus is far from over. Some countries are still facing major epidemics, but even those that currently control the virus are afraid of the “second wave.”
The second phase of Spanish flu a century ago was more dangerous than the first.
So, the second wave is inevitable? And how bad can it be?
First, what is the second wave?
You can think of it as waves at sea. The number of infections increases and then decreases again – each cycle represents one “wave” of coronavirus.
However, there is no formal definition.
“It’s not entirely scientific, how you define a wave is arbitrary,” said Dr. Mike Tildesley of the University of Warwick to the BBC.
Some describe any growth as a second wave, but it is often an uneven first wave. This happens in some states of the USA.
To say that one wave is over, the virus would be brought under control, and cases were significantly reduced.
To start the second wave, you need a steady increase in infections. New Zealand, which has its first cases after 24 days without coronavirusand Beijing after 50 days of no virus outbreak not in that position.
But some scholars argue that Iran may begin to meet the criteria for the second wave.
Will the second wave come to the UK?
The answer depends almost entirely on the decisions we make so that it can go either way.
“I really think there is huge uncertainty at the moment … but, frankly, this is something that really bothers me,” says Dr. Tildsley.
There is clearly potential – the virus still exists, and it is no less deadly or contagious than at the beginning of 2020.
Only around 5% of people in the UK It is believed that they were infected, and there is no guarantee that they are all protected.
“The evidence is that the vast majority of people are still susceptible, in effect, if we cancel all the measures we returned in February,” says Dr. Adam Kucharski of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“It’s almost like starting over.”
What can cause the second wave?
Removing lock restrictions is too far.
The bans led to enormous destruction throughout the world – job destruction, poor health and the removal of children from school – but they controlled the virus.
“The main mystery is how to maintain control and minimize daily outages,” says Dr. Kucharski.
No one is 100% sure how far we can go.
This is why measures are being phased out, and new ways to fight the coronavirus, such as contact tracing or face masking, are being introduced.
“Outbreaks in the UK and neighboring countries can happen quite quickly if measures are canceled beyond controlled transmission,” says Dr. Kucharski.
It already starts in Germany, where 650 people tested positive for the virus. after an outbreak in a slaughterhouse,
This is not the main problem if clusters can be quickly identified, local locks are introduced and the spread of the virus is stopped.
Otherwise, they contribute to the second wave.
South Korea, widely praised for handling coronavirus, had to re-enter some restrictions due to such clusters.
Will the second wave be the same as the first?
Something will go seriously wrong if it is.
The R value – the number of people to whom each infected person transmitted the virus on average – was 3 at the start of the pandemic.
This meant that the virus was spreading rapidly, but our behavior changed, we distanced ourselves from society, and it is difficult to understand how R would reach that level again.
Dr. Kucharski told the BBC: “No country is going to just lift everything and return to normal.
“Even in countries without coronavirus control, such as Brazil and India, R is not 3.0.”
If cases start to grow again, it can be relatively slow.
However, the second wave, theoretically, may still be larger than the first, because many people are still at risk.
“[But] if things increase again, we can re-enter the block to suppress the second wave, it is always available to us, ”says Dr. Tildsley.
When will the second wave happen? Will winter be worse?
Dr. Kurcharski says local outbreaks can be seen in “even the coming weeks or months” when measures are canceled.
But this does not mean a guaranteed second wave.
Dr. Tildsley says: “If the measures are significantly relaxed, we can end the second wave in late August or early September.”
Winter can be a crucial time as other coronaviruses spread faster.
If we only controlled the virus, even a slight seasonal increase could lead to the spread of the virus.
“Spring has certainly helped us,” says Professor Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University of Nottingham.
“The second wave is almost inevitable, especially when we approach the winter months.
“The task of the government is to ensure that the peak is not so large that it overloads the healthcare system.”
Will the virus become softer and no longer be a problem?
One argument against the deadly second wave is that viruses become less dangerous as they develop to better infect humans.
Even HIV seems to be getting softer, The theory says that viruses will spread further if they do not kill their master and become softer.
“But it’s not guaranteed, it’s a little lazy that some virologists run out,” says Professor Ball.
This is also what happens over long periods of time. More than six months after the outbreak of the pandemic, there is no clear evidence that the virus has mutated to spread more easily or to be less deadly.
Professor Ball adds: “I think the virus is doing very well right now. People often have a very mild or asymptomatic infection, if they can transmit, then there is no reason to believe that coronavirus should become milder. ”
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