/How to Prevent a Second Wave of COVID

How to Prevent a Second Wave of COVID

The dramatic spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the southern and western United States has led to a pause in reopening and, in some cases, renewed shutdowns. They are still technically part of the first wave.

What can you do to prevent or at least minimize the impact of a second wave? CNBC reports:

A second wave would be similar to what we experienced in the spring of 2020, but it could be harder to control in the fall, when people are tired of social distancing, Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, told the American Medical Association in May. It’s likely that people would have to follow the same prevention measures that worked in the first wave, such as mask-wearing and social distancing. 

A second wave during flu season could potentially overwhelm the healthcare system, “and we have a big problem,” Dr. Mary Beth Sexton, an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University in Georgia, tells CNBC Make It. In this scenario, there could be “a huge influx of cases” at a time when people are planning to return to school and work, so they would be harder to address, she says. 

Whether or not we see a comeback like this “is at least partially influenced by how well we all do at infection control measures, like distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing,” Sexton says. “So, we may be able to affect change on how high that peak might be.” In truth, it’s likely that we will continue to see peaks and valleys related to how well people are practicing prevention measures, and when we have an effective vaccine or treatment, she says. 

So, what can you do? For starters, you should continue to stay away from people and practice hand hygiene. But perhaps most important is wearing a mask when you go out in public, even outdoors.

“You simply cannot get infected with this virus unless you breathe it in, or you touch an infected surface and then touch your eyes, nose and mouth,” Dr. Greg Poland at the Mayo Clinic added.