Second wave of coronavirus pandemic: How experts differ in their assessments

The scientist who identified SARS virus says a second wave of coronavirus would happen, while Sweden's top expert opines otherwise

There are speculations that a second wave of coronavirus pandemic might hit the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently warned that COVID-19, in combination with the flu during the upcoming flu season, could become more devastating than the present one. Many experts have their say on the issue.

One of the scientists who identified the SARS virus back in 2003 called it a "prevention paradox". Christian Drosten, director of the the Institute of Virology at Charité Hospital in Berlin, describes this paradox saying that even as people claim there is an over-reaction (such as lockdown) to the pandemic, there is also political and economic pressure to go back to normalcy. "I worry that the reproduction number will start to climb again, and we will have a second wave," he told The Guardian.

SARS-CoV-2 Pixabay

Sweden's route

Sweden has taken a different route to counter coronavirus by not imposing national lockdown. The authorities say the country is on its way towards herd immunity. Scientist Anders Tegnell, who is behind this strategy, says the move is effective. Speaking to BBC's Radio Four's Today, he said it "will hopefully help prevent a second wave of infections."

With 18,640 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 2190 deaths, Sweden has the highest death toll among all Scandinavian countries. However, Tegnel said that almost 50 percent of the deaths were in the elderly homes, and questioned the feasibility of the lockdown.

Experts differ

However, Dr. Nicholas Testa, chief medical officer with Dignity Health in Southern California, said there is a long way to go even after antibody testing to know how many acquired immunity, as we don't fully know the characteristics of a 'new immunity patient,' something opposed to the Tegnell's claim.

He said that there were two important factors for a second wave, viz., relaxation of the social distancing measures and the seasonality of the epidemic. Testa said "we don't know about the seasonality, so that I kind of have to defer." As soon as the mitigation measures are taken off second wave would be a definite thing, he said in an interview to abc7 News.

Drosden's take is that another coronavirus pandemic cannot be ruled out. He cited the first Ebola outbreak of 1976, which took less than 20 years to come back.

Related topics : Coronavirus