What does all this say about the “second wave” of coronavirus cases in the US?
Vice President Mike Pence wrote in The Wall Street Journal last week in piece under the heading “No second wave coronavirus,” that the country wins the fight against the virus.
However, many public health experts believe that this is not the time to celebrate. About 120,000 Americans have died from the new virus, and there has been a recent alarming increase in the number of reported cases in the south and west.
But there is at least one point of agreement: “Second Wave” is probably the wrong term to describe what is happening.
“When you have more than 20,000 infections a day, how can you talk about the second wave?” Said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health. “We are on the first wave. you have a second wave.
Obviously, in April there was an initial peak of infection when an explosion occurred in New York. Following the closure of schools and enterprises across the country, the number of new cases decreased slightly.
But “it’s more like a plateau or mesa,” not a hollow after a wave, says Caitlin Rivers, a disease researcher at Johns Hopkins University Health Safety Center.
Scientists generally agree that the country is still experiencing the first wave of coronavirus infections, although it is spreading in some parts of the country and growing in others.
“This virus spreads across the United States and affects different places with different intensities at different times,” said Dr. Richard Besser, Executive Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during a pandemic. The flu hit the US in 2009.
Dr. Arnold Monto, a flu expert at the University of Michigan, supported this view.
“What I would call is a continuation of the flash program,” he said.
Flu seasons sometimes show a second wave of infections. But in these cases, the second wave is a clear new surge in cases of influenza strain, which is different from the strain that caused earlier illnesses.
This does not apply to the coronavirus epidemic.
Monto does not think that the “second wave” really describes what is happening now, calling it “completely semantics.”
“The second waves are mostly in the eye of the beholder,” he said.
But Besser said semantics matter because, saying that the first wave has passed, people may have the false feeling that the worst is over.
Some fear that a large wave of coronavirus may occur in autumn or winter – after opening schools, the weather becomes colder and less humid, and people are clogging more and more inside. This would follow seasonal patterns of influenza and other respiratory viruses. And such a wave of decline can be very bad, given that there is no vaccine, or experts believe that most Americans did not have the virus.
But the new coronavirus is still spreading more sporadically and sporadically than the flu, and it may not follow the same book.
“It’s very difficult to make a prediction,” Rivers said. “We don’t know how seasonal this virus is, if it exists at all.”
AP medical writer Lauran Nirgaard contributed to this report.
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