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Epidemiologists are unsure whether the long-awaited autumn second wave of COVID-19 will be realized



The grim milestone of 200,000 reported COVID-19 deaths is a reminder of how quickly the coronavirus can spread and a warning of what could happen when the nation enters autumn.

In fact, the fall could see a new “wave” of the virus and not a “wave”. A scale is only an increase in COVID-19 cases within a given scale. There is not exactly a formal definition of a wave, but new COVID-19 cases in the US had dropped or “slowed down” much like a wave since mid-August. A new wave may be on the way, as falls have increased over the past seven days.

Many models predict a new wave of COVID-1

9 coming in the coming weeks. For example, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts a second wave that begins in late September and does not reach its peak until Thanksgiving.

“My feeling is that there will be a wave, and it’s not so much if it comes but how big it will be,” Eili Klein, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told Washington Post recently.

Others are not so sure.

“We really do not know yet,” said Dr. George Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “What we really know is that we will have these peaks and episodic eruptions.”

Benjamin pointed to children returning to school and people trying to return their lives to normal as probable main causes of episodic outbreaks in the future.

However, autumn also brings Halloween and Thanksgiving, two holidays where people tend to gather and travel via the airline.

“In our communities here in Memphis, we saw an increase after the Labor Day weekend. We saw an increase in the number of cases and the degree of positivity,” says Dr. Manoj Jain, an infectious doctor in Tennessee and adjunct professor at Rollins School. of Public Health at Emory University. “There is a very fragile equilibrium that we are in, and the slightest disturbance can lead to an increase in the number of cases. And it can lead to the transfer of society, which can be very difficult to control.”

“I suspect travel will increase for Thanksgiving,” said Susan Hassig, a professor of epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. “The flight has slowly crept up. … But it may be that people are doing more runs for Thanksgiving.”

Benjamin noted that one positive thing about Halloween is that children wear masks, but he added: “The people who leave sweets to them may or may not wear a mask, and there is a risk of being exposed if you get too close. And if you If you are out, you still need to use hand sanitizer or wash your hands often. “

The wave campaign’s autumn risk also increases in the autumn, which not only involves large meetings but people who go door to door to get to the polls.

“The biggest risks are the campaign meetings, where people are close to each other, sometimes without masks. Even with masks, it is a risk,” says Benjamin. “When it comes to the door-to-door campaign, you have to be careful, you have to wear a mask and walk back from the door.”

In addition to the holidays and the election, there is a risk that students will be back at school.

“Schools bring many people who have not seen each other in six months into contact with each other,” says Hassig. “The whole ecosystem of the education system depends on everyone’s behavior. If you only have a few people who do not wear masks, not social distancing … it can be a problem.”

Another last problem is the looming flu season.

“What matters is that we enter the flu season, and you can get the flu that weakens your immune system, making you more vulnerable to COVID, or vice versa,” says Angela Clendenin, an assistant professor of instruction at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. “We are looking at the potential of some people’s immune systems to be affected twice. It can lead to more serious illness for some people. But you can do something about the flu and get a vaccine.”

Some models suggest that the pandemic will continue to decline during the autumn.

Computer scientist Youyang Gu, whose pandemic models have proven to be fairly accurate, predicts another 24,000 deaths due to COVID-19 by November 1, which would be less than 500 per day. Deaths averaged 830 per day in September.

“I do not think that individual dates and events have as great an impact as people think,” Gu said. “For example, many expected falls to increase after Memorial Day or after protests, but it never happened. The major drivers of a potential fall wave include: virus season, more time indoors, increased mobility when schools reopen and people return to work and the potential loss of acquired immunity. “




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