Second wave of coronavirus to likely hit the U.S. this fall

Some areas are already experiencing a second wave

A woman wearing a protective mask runs along Central Park South Saturday, May 2, 2020, in New York. New York City police dispatched 1,000 officers this weekend to enforce social distancing due to coronavirus concerns, as warmer weather tempted New Yorkers to come out of quarantine. Officers set out on foot, bicycles and cars to break up crowds and remind everyone of public health restrictions requiring they keep 6 feet away from others.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin Ii, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

While the coronavirus may have slowed down in many parts of the United States, experts say not to plan your vacations and parties so fast as a second-round of the virus is very likely.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, a second-round of Covid-19 cases is “inevitable” come fall.

“I’m almost certain it will come back because the virus is so transmissible and it’s globally spread,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci during an Economic Club of Washington webinar earlier this week.

Americans could be in for “a bad fall and a bad winter” if the country is unprepared, Fauci added.

Here’s what we know about the possible second wave of the coronavirus.

Scientists are looking at older viruses to offer some clues on when COVID-19 may strike again.

People usually get infected by four common coronaviruses that were first identified in the mid-1960s, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those viruses tend to peak in the winter.

Dr. Greg Poland, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic, told CNN that SARS-CoV-2, the technical name for the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, is likely to follow that pattern.

If that were the case, a second wave of the coronavirus would return just in time for the beginning of flu season.

It wouldn’t be the first pandemic to come back stronger.

According to CNN, in the spring of 2009, the US experienced a surplus of cases of the H1N1 influenza virus, also known as swine flu.

Then a second wave was reported in the fall and winter, months after the initial outbreak the CDC says.

"Often, not always ... often the second wave of a pandemic is worse," Poland said, adding that the coronavirus pandemic spread in the US well into the flu season.

Another example of a virus returning months after its initial outbreak is the 1918 influenza pandemic.

The virus killed 50 million people globally and around 675,000 Americans.

During that time, there was a mild spring wave in the U.S. that occurred. But months later, a deadly second wave hit the country in September.

“This thing’s not going to stop until it infects 60 to 70 percent of people,” said Mike Osterholm, the CIDRAP director, in an interview with CNN. “The idea that this is going to be done soon defies microbiology.”

The big question on everyone’s mind is “what can we do to prevent the virus from making a lethal return?”

Health experts say the next couple of months will serve as a good time to prepare for a potential second outbreak.

Hospitals and clinics should replenish their stocks of personal protective equipment and testing supplies. People should try to get healthier if possible, continue using face masks for the time being and keep gatherings to no more than 10 people, several experts told CNN.

Officials throughout the country must maintain focus on expanding coronavirus testing, contact tracing and treatment, Dr. Helen Boucher, chief of the geographic medicine and infectious diseases division at Tufts University Medical Center told CNN.

“We hope we’ll have more tools in our toolbox, maybe we’ll have some treatments for Covid-19 by then, maybe we’ll have better diagnostics,” Boucher said.

Since the outbreak began, some locations have already seen a second spike in cases.

According to CNN, Singapore reported an increase in coronavirus infections, with thousands of new cases linked to foreign worker dormitories.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Singapore’s total cases grew from 266 to more than 17,000 after March 17.

"We’re in this together” has become the slogan for fighting the coronavirus. Now more than ever we need to work together no matter our differences to help slow or even stop the second wave of the coronavirus.