Reader Comments

Coronavirus pandemic: We're still in the first wave. So what happens in the second?

by Arden Wieck (2020-09-04)

id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body">

Face masks and plexiglass shields have become the norm at hair salons and retail stores, but new coronavirus cases continue to surge.
Sarah Tew/CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Are we in the first wave of coronavirus infections or the second? And what happens when flu season arrives? For a while it looked like the US was . New cases were slowly trending down as states began reopening their economies. But the trend reversed course in mid-June, resulting in record numbers of new infections, well outpacing the virus' spread at the beginning of the pandemic.Experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, say no, we're still "knee deep" in the first wave because confirmed case numbers didn't drop enough for a long enough period of time to squash the initial outbreak. Instead, cases dipped before rising higher than they had been before.

CNET Coronavirus Update

Keep track of the coronavirus pandemic.

Another complication: The uncertainty of the approaching fall and winter -- in other words, flu season. Speaking to Time Magazine, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield warned, "The real risk is that we're going to have two circulating respiratory pathogens at the same time."We take a look at what doctors and scientists have to say about a second wave of the coronavirus, including how it might relate to the current spike in new cases as well as what experts predict for the fall and winter. Please note: This story provides an overview of the current discussion, and is updated frequently in light of new and changing information provided by health officials, global leaders and the scientific community. It is not intended as a medical reference.

Now playing:
Watch this:

Make your own gadgets to protect you from coronavirus


Coronavirus cases are spiking worldwide: The latest newsNew coronavirus cases are growing or flat in 48 US states, with 12 states hitting record high seven-day averages for daily new cases as of July 8.
About 50% of new cases are confined to just four states: Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.
Florida reported 15,299 new coronavirus cases on July 12, breaking the single-day record for a state.Over 52,000 people are currently hospitalized with coronavirus, with 1,000 to 2,000 new patients being admitted daily.
After declining for months, the US death started rising in mid-July.Total US coronavirus cases are now at over 3.3 million, with over 137,000 deaths so far.
Black people account for 23% of all COVID-19 deaths where racial group is known, meaning they are 2.5 more likely to die from the disease than people who are identified as white. Other communities of color, particularly Latino groups, have also been found to be disproportionately affected (CDC report) largely as a result of socioeconomic factors.
Over half of all US states have either paused or rolled back their reopening plans.
008-asheville-nc-reopening-phase-2-small-businesses-tourist-town-coronavirusReopening the economy has put people in closer contact with one another, but not everyone chooses to wear a face mask in public.
Sarah Tew/CNET

If we're still in the first wave, when will a second wave happen?"We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this [pandemic]," Fauci said during a July 6 interview on Facebook Live. "And I would say, this [recent uptick in cases] would not be considered a wave. It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections."The first wave will end when the rate of positive coronavirus tests drops to "the low single digits," Fauci said in June. Instead, new cases declined modestly, then plateaued through most of May before starting to spike again in late June, never quite getting low enough. Basically, you can't have a second wave until cases and deaths from the first wave drop close to zero for a sustained period of time. If cases spike again after that point, that's a bona fide second wave. South Korean officials, for example, have declared the country is experiencing a second wave as case numbers have begun to surge again after about two months of single-digit infection rates. However, while the World Health Organization has acknowledged the seriousness of these new clusters of cases, the WHO has stopped short of calling it a "second wave."fall leaves turning brownAs fall approaches, so does flu season, which experts warn could complicate the public health response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Andrew Hoyle/CNET
Why are experts worried about coronavirus in the fall?Most public health experts -- including Fauci and Redfield -- have said they anticipate a big uptick to happen this fall and winter. For those who have any questions regarding where as well as tips on how to use DMB Supply is a local distributor of FDA registered face masks. Our face masks are ideal for everyday use and for use in medical facilities. All orders ship same day or next business day via USPS from New York., you possibly can contact us from our own web site. The White House has admitted it's preparing for the possibility. However, part of that prediction was based on the assumption that the virus would slow down over the summer, which appears not to be happening.Much of the attention aimed at fall has now shifted to concern over the possibility of two potentially lethal viruses circulating at the same time -- COVID-19 and the seasonal flu, the latter of which kills around 40,000 people in the US per year. Because of certain overlapping symptoms such as fever and a cough, it may be harder for individuals and doctors to immediately determine which infection you have.If severe COVID-19 infections continue to push hospitals to the brink of their capacity and abilities, it may also be harder to care for potentially virulent flu patients.