How is the continuity of states noticed an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks, the Trump administration has become louder in opposing claims that the nation should prepare for the so-called “second wave”.
Last week, Larry Cudlow, White House economic adviser, announced Fox news that growth in cases “is not an emergency and there is no second wave.” Vice President Mike Pence reiterated this view this week. article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “There is no second wave of Coronavirus.”
“The media tried to scare the American people at every turn, and these gloomy forecasts of the second wave are no different,” writes Pence.
Pence and Kudlow may be right in asserting that the country is not entering the second wave, but only, experts say, because it is still the first. The consensus among epidemiologists is that the risk of the second wave remains real, but is likely to fall. And since the possibility of the spread of the virus remains a serious cause for concern, they said that now is not the time to weaken preventive measures, such as distance, washing hands and wearing masks.
“We are on the first wave, but we are on the second half of the nine inning,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota.
According to Osterholm, the problem can boil down to semantic misunderstanding. When epidemiologists describe the second wave, they mean the re-emergence of the virus after a quieter period of minimal transmission.
“A wave occurs when you see an increase in cases and then a subsequent decrease in cases with a hollow,” explained Osterholm. “Then the second wave occurs when you get out of this trough and go into another large number of cases – often to a greater extent than the first wave.”
other agreedDr. Vincent Racaniello, a virologist at Columbia University, told ABC News that many expect the incidence to decline during the summer months and then erupt again in the fall.
“In the cooler months, at lower humidity, the virus is transmitted better, so we see outbreaks of respiratory infections in those days,” said Racaniello. “I think that is what COVID-19 will be like in the fall.”
Dr. Ashish Jah, chief physician and director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, warned that “as schools return with universities and jobs, we are all very concerned that we will see big spikes in cases that at the national level will lead to a second wave “
This theory has a great historical precedent. Seven of the eight major pandemics since the 18th century suffered “a second significant peak about six months after the first peak,” according to conclusions of the working group consists of leading researchers of infectious diseases.
second wave for example, the notorious 1918 Spanish flu pandemic killed significantly more people than the original.
In a review of this working group, published by the University of Minnesota Center for Research and Policy on Infectious Diseases, experts presented a scenario in which “the first wave of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 is accompanied by a larger wave in the fall or winter of 2020.” and one or more smaller subsequent waves in 2021. “
“This model will require the restoration of mitigation measures in the fall in an attempt to reduce the spread of infection and prevent health congestion care systems, ”concluded the CIDRAP team.
Advocates of the most vulnerable Americans directly aimed at Pence for his assumption that the media mistakenly spun the second wave. Medical staff at LeadingAge advocacy group released a video calling on the vice president to strengthen his resolve.
“There will be another after this wave,” said LeadingAge CEO Katie Sloan. in the video, “This is not the end.”
Sloan condemned Pence’s claim in The Wall Street Journal that the federal government’s reaction to the pandemic was “a cause for celebration” as a “startling statement.”
Dr. John Braunstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and an ABC News employee, said that Pence was reporting the wrong message when health officials wanted the public to remain vigilant about the spread of viruses.
“There is a danger in messaging that pushes the story“ out of the woods, ”Braunstein said. “Yes, there has been progress in public health preparedness, but we still need public support to continue to reduce the transmission of the virus.”
Thus, a group of former US politicians began to sound the alarm about “pandemic fatigue” – the emerging neglect of preventative measures that probably helped curb the impact of the disease over the past few months.
“People are tired and worry about their lives and livelihoods. But now is not the time to relax, ”said former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, one of the founders of the Bipartisan Biosecurity Commission.
“The virus continues to spread,” Lieberman said. “Until preventative measures or treatment are available, we must continue to do our best to protect each other. We need to wear masks, maintain social connections and support science, healthcare and medicine. ”
While scientists point to historical data to justify their fears of a resurgence of the virus, leading epidemiologists cautiously note that the upcoming second wave of the disease is not reliable and can be controlled.
“It’s not inevitable that you will have the so-called“ second wave ”in the fall or even a significant increase if you approach it appropriately.” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief specialist for infectious diseases administration.
Dr. John M. Barry, a professor at Tulane University and author of The Great Flu: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, said the second wave remains dependent on whether Americans can redouble prevention efforts.
“It depends on people’s behavior,” Barry said. “What you do today has an impact between two or four weeks. This is far from falling. ”
For Osterholm, the whole discussion about whether we will see the second wave is premature. He said that the focus now should be on actively preventing the current outbreak.
“We should not focus on whether there is a wave or not,” he added, “because it overlooks the whole point.”
ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel and Dr. Jessica Johnson contributed to this report.
Experts say “debate about the second wave” about coronavirus “miss the point” originally appeared on abcnews.go.com