A 2nd wave of the pandemic?
As measures relaxed a possible 2nd wave of the pandemic appeared. Are we at time to prevent it?
With the proper measures in place, many countries saw a significant drop in the number of Covid-19 cases. As a result, the lockdowns started getting lifted around the world, in phases. Initially, some of the offices reopened and later, schools, colleges, shopping malls, salons and other crowd-generating places, too, opened.
However, after 50-days without any single case, Beijing reported new cases. In New Zealand too, cases were reported after 24 days. Germany as well, saw a record number of cases with France, following close behind. Places like Texas, California and Florida in the United States, have also seen several cases within days of lockdown relaxation. Experts have started warning the governments around the world of a possible 2nd wave of the pandemic.
What does a 2nd wave of the pandemic mean?
A Pandemic is generally caused by an unknown pathogen and therefore, it takes significant time to invent the preventive measures, like a vaccine. But with proper rules and policies in place, it is possible to break the social chain. However, the pandemic has started resurfacing with greater strength in the United States and the European nations, resulting in a second wave. The second wave is expected to be even deadlier than the first one.
What is the present condition of the U.S. and how will this affect a 2nd wave of the pandemic?
Though many are speculating the 2nd wave of Coronavirus cases in the country, experts believe that the first wave is not yet over. Places like New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut, which were the worst hit in the initial months, have now reached a scarce number of cases. But new cases are surging in other parts of the country. Currently, the southern states are the worst hit. The mobile network cell towers' reports have shown that social distancing is drastically reducing among American citizens. The governors are planning and working on new steps to battle the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. There might not be the need for a complete shutdown if all the citizens start following the basic protocols, like, wearing a face mask, maintaining an optimal physical distance, avoiding crowded places and following the hand-and-health hygiene.
Possible causes of the second wave of the Pandemic:
Complacency and lowering the guard: In the spring of 2020, for the first time in a long period, people were asked to maintain social distance and quarantine themselves in their respective homes. But, as the fall is approaching, there are certain behavioral changes in humans. People are becoming more and more complacent about the severity of the Novel Coronavirus. There were protests held in Michigan against the lockdown and social distancing norms, where the protestors staged haircut demonstrations in front of the Capitol and held up signs of 'End Tyranny'.
Restaurants and other places of entertainment have already started seeing their regular crowds. People have started stepping out of their homes due to lockdown fatigue.
Reopening of Schools: Children in general, are more susceptible to infectious diseases. The novel Coronavirus is no different. More than 380,000 U.S. children have been affected till date. As of 6th August 2020, 9.1% of the total COVID-19 cases comprise of children. The decision of reopening schools was left to the individual districts. While some schools opted for remote learning, some went ahead and reopened the schools. Some schools in the southern and midwestern states had to shut after cases were reported on reopening.
Parents of Georgia school kids were especially concerned about sending their children back to school when the schools did not take any measures of reducing the class size and on top of that, had made wearing masks, optional.
At the Federal level, when U.S. President, Donald Trump had tweeted that schools must open in the fall, he was a met with a lot of fire from both teachers and parents.
Cold Season lowering the immune system: Initially, it was thought that the Coronavirus affects a lesser number of people in the warmer and hotter regions. Recently, a report from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, showed that the spread of the virus was more prominent in the cold and dry conditions. The other common viruses too, like 2002-3 SARS-CoV-2 outbreak also thrived in such conditions.
Another issue that is faced during the cold season is that most common flu also affects citizens during the same time. So, the symptoms are very similar which makes it difficult to derive the disease.
Opening of Public places like malls and salons: As a part of lifting the lockdown, many public places like malls, salons, markets and movie theatres are now open in the United States. Public Places are very crowded so it is very difficult to maintain social distancing in these circumstances. As for salons and the barbers' shops, the nature of the work requires the customer and the service provider to be in close proximity. As the Coronavirus is highly contagious, it has increased the spread of the disease.
Sometimes, the person who has already gotten affected with the virus is asymptomatic and might spread the virus to others before actually feeling sick.
The thought that the pandemic is over: According to the Prevalence Data provided by the organization of Mental Health in America has shown that as of 2020, 18.57% of adults experience a mental health illness. In numbers, it is equal to 45 million Americans. This pandemic has really taken a toll on mental health. While the front line workers are endangering their lives to battle this virus, some people are still in denial.
Some people think that all of it is a hoax while others are protesting about staying at home for the fear of losing their jobs. According to Forbes, approximately 50 million Americans have already filed for Unemployment benefits.
The mixed messages from government and health sector officials are creating more confusions for the public. Some leaders announce dates of reopening a particular place or office, while others fight to push it back.
How to prevent the 2nd wave of the pandemic?
Economies have been very severely hit due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The second wave of a pandemic can be extremely detrimental to all citizens. The rate of mortality is already skyrocketing. So, the most important step that needs to be taken is to continue practising social distancing.
Always wear a mask whenever you are going outside of your home. Practice good hand hygiene and carry a sanitizer with yourself. Avoid public gatherings and other public places. Take precautionary measures like performing physical activities, eating a lot of proteins and drinking lukewarm water from time to time.
Senior citizens and children are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. They are especially advised to stay indoors. Engage in meditation and Yoga for better mental health.
If you are feeling unwell, please quarantine yourself in a separate room. Do not panic and take any hasty decisions. Get tested for the virus and in case, your test results come back as positive, seek advice from your doctor, preferably someone who is familiar with your medical history. Take lots of fluid and rest well.
When is the pandemic going to end?
This is one question that has taken over the minds of all human beings. According to historians, a pandemic can have two types of endings: a medical one and a social one. In case of a medical one, a vaccine is tried and tested to develop antibodies against the said virus. Till now, only the disease smallpox had reached a medical ending. However, in most cases, the fear of the pandemic had slowly decreased in the minds of the people and had learnt to lead their lives with the disease.
In such tough times, it is really important to remain optimistic. If you are stranded somewhere or are feeling anxious about your wellbeing, seek help. There are many online portals where professionals guide you on how to cope with fear. In addition, it is important to stay aware and well-informed. Only rely on sources like WHO for all the Covid-19 updates, believing the rumors will do nothing good. Lastly, it is important to follow all the health measures laid down by WHO to protect yourself against the virus. Leniency will only make your more susceptible towards the virus, especially when you are at crowded places.