We can create models and make predictions, but so much about COVID-19 remains unknown.
By Julia Ries
There’s been much speculation about if and when a second coronavirus wave will come crashing down on us, and whether it has the potential to be more severe than the first crest.
After all, that’s what unfolded with past respiratory infections like the 1918 flu pandemic, which had a second wave far more devastating and fatal than the first.
But epidemiologists — the people who study the patterns and causes of diseases — warn against assuming that COVID-19 will behave like the infectious diseases we’ve seen before. This is a brand-new virus and it’s not clear this pandemic will even see a second wave.
What’s more likely, several epidemiologists who spoke to HuffPost suggested, is that the first wave will continue to swell, with daily cases and death counts rising and falling in particular areas, until the population eventually achieves herd immunity ― which seems unlikely without a widely available vaccine.
That said, we’ve never dealt with this specific virus before, so we really don’t know what the pandemic will look like three months from now. “We’re in totally uncharted waters here,” said Anne Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.