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Why talk of a second COVID-19 wave is raising so much anxiety

The COVID-19 has crossed 25 million infections across the world as we speak.

While a number of countries are seeing a reduction in new infections, health experts have yet to agree that the first wave is ending.

Respiratory illnesses are seasonal

Usually, respiratory disease, of which COVID is part of, are seasonal. Thus, it was expected that it would come in waves, depending on the season of higher transmission.

For  wave to end, the infections have to hit the inflection point then hit a sustained period of decrease. This is what happened in countries such as Spain, Italy, France and Germany. They reduced infections significantly after the peak. Now, the new rise is infections, according to experts, could be a second wave.

The dread about a second wave comes from experience.

Deadly second wave of Spanish Flu

In the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920, the first wave was not very deadly. However, the second wave of the flu was the deadliest. More significantly, it killed the young just as much as it did the old in its second wave.

Scientists say that the second wave may have been due to the virus mutating after the first wave.

Dr Ravina Kuller, an infectious disease specialist, however, told Kaiser Health News that while there are lessons from the 1918 pandemic, it may not be very useful.

This is due to the fact that the Spanish Flu was caused by an Influenza virus. So far, the novel coronavirus appears to be more ‘stable’ than the Influenza virus. Thus, even with a second wave, the COVID-19 is unlikely to be any more lethal, based on current evidence.

Widespread infections in second wave

However, the Hopkins University said that a second COVID-19 wave could see more widespread infections.

They said that while the first wave started with isolated cases, a second wave could begin in many different places, with different carriers. This would make contact tracing and isolation harder, and that could prove fatal.

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