As lockdowns are being eased around the country, millions of Americans are going back to work. This comes at a huge risk. As long as there are susceptible and infected people in the population, the virus can spread.
Experts are warning that the virus will continue to pose a public health threat throughout the spring and summer and having seen coronavirus cases in 21 states increasing and the total cases passing the 2 million mark, a second wave is imminent.
A recommendation has been made to Americans to keep using protective face masks and observing social distancing where possible.
Evidence is highlighting that the first wave of the epidemic resulted in only limited immunity, well below herd immunity levels. There are also pockets of a population in which the virus not only survives but continues to spread.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, expects a second wave of infections to hit in the fall.
If that second wave arrives, it will coincide with flu season. The result? A lot of people will become sick in the fall and winter, compounding the pressure on the healthcare system.
“It will likely be worse than the initial wave we experienced this spring,” Glatter predicted. “Combined with influenza, the intensity of both viruses combined could make our initial COVID-19 look benign.”
To prepare for a potential second wave of infections in the fall, Glatter stresses the importance of increasing healthcare capacity and using PPE (personal protective equipment).
“We need to continue to prepare our hospitals for this reality, ramping up efforts to secure personal protective equipment, and making sure we have adequate staffing and intensive care unit capability,” he said.