Is a Second Wave of Coronavirus Inevitable? Here's What Doctors Say

This is what Dr. Fauci and other experts say about coronavirus coming back with a vengeance.

As the U.S. reopens its economy and we cautiously resume our daily lives in the aftermath of widespread shelter in place orders, many of us are left wondering if our newfound freedom is just too good to be true. After all, doctors and researchers have warned that until a vaccine is developed (and likely for some time after that), relaxed regulations could easily lead to a second wave of coronavirus infections—with grave consequences to public health. Thankfully, doctors have been sharing some insight on the question that's been weighing on our collective conscious: Is a second wave of coronavirus inevitable? As it turns out, the answer may surprise you.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci, MD, said this week in an interview with CNN that while a second wave "could happen," he believes that it is "not inevitable." The key, he argued, is for states to begin reopening "correctly"—meaning gradually, and with an emphasis on social distancing, strict hygiene regulations, and preparedness for the event of increased rates of infection.

Additionally, he stressed the need for individuals to take personal responsibility for stopping the spread as we reopen. In reference to recent news stories about large gatherings around the country, he said, "People who are out there frolicking need to realize that when you do that, and you see no negative effect in one week, please don't be overconfident." He went on to explain that "the effect of spreading is not going to be seen for two, three, maybe even more weeks," but we can rest assured that the spike in infections will come. In other words, our ability to avoid a second wave is conditional: If we begin "leapfrogging the recommendations," Fauci explained, we are "asking for trouble."

Infectious disease specialist David Cennimo, MD, has advised similar caution, warning that a second wave of coronavirus is "very likely." In response to NJ Advance Media's question of the day on this topic, he echoed Fauci's warning that states need to be highly monitored, and that state officials should be prepared to reverse their measures to reopen if there are spikes in infection rates.

So, there you have it. Our future is in our own hands, according to doctors—but if we fail to follow the guidelines, a second wave of coronavirus is likely coming. And for answers to all of your most burning questions about the coronavirus vaccine, check out these 7 Questions About the Coronavirus Vaccine, Answered by Doctors.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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