Experts warn that coronavirus infections could begin to increase as businesses begin to reopen and stay-at-home orders slowly lift.
Experts are bracing for a second wave of the coronavirusExactly when it will happen, how it will happen and if we're already starting to see the effects are still unknown. But scientists, health officials and government leaders around the world have warned that new COVID1-19 cases could surge aslockdown restrictions liftand people come into closer contact with one another than they have in weeks. Because the coronavirus is a highly contagious pathogen that spreads through breath and saliva, experts are urging lawmakers to be on the lookout for a second "peak,"a sharp increase in cases that falls short of a full-blown second "wave."
There's still much that doctors and scientists don't know about the coronavirus that'sinfected nearly 6 million peopleand taken almost 400,000 lives, but most experts agree that until we have an effective coronavirus vaccine, the only way to slow the spread of the virus is by taking precautions likesocial distancing,wearing face masksin public and washing hands correctly and frequently.
Even so, some public health experts sayit's too soon to reopen businesses and resume social activities, such as going to the lake or beachand visiting amusement parks, even with limited capacity. Others argue that cities must reopen to keep the economy afloat, and that protective health measures will curb coronavirus transmissionin restaurants, schools, malls and on planes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also released guidelines to help local governments identify phases for reopening, and interim suggestions for restaurants, schools and industry.
Keep track of the coronavirus pandemic.
The full extent of short- and long-term effects of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease it causes are still unknown, including how long you may be immune after you recover and if it's possible to become reinfected. It also isn't clear how governments would respond to a surge in coronavirus infections, though some countries, such asLebanon and South Korea, have already reinstated lockdown orders in areas where the virus seems to be reemerging.
This story provides an overview to help keep you informed of the current discussion. It will update frequently in light of new and changing information provided by health officials, global leaders and the scientific community, and is not intended as a medical reference.
Now playing: Watch this: Measuring coronavirus in wastewater could help predict...
As countries and states begin to ease lockdown restrictions, health officials around the globe are already on the lookout forrising infection ratesthat could signal a second wave of coronavirus-related illness. Most public health experts -- including the Director of the CDC,Dr. Robert Redfield, andDr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease --anticipate the next big uptickto happenthis fall or winter.
Why then? Flu casestend to drop off during the summer, which has led some health experts tohope COVID-19 cases go downwhen the weather gets warmer as well.Dr. Amesh Adalja, a pandemic preparedness expert at Johns Hopkins University,told the Los Angeles Timesthat other coronaviruses don't fare well during summer months because, once outside the body, both the hotter temperatures dry them out and the ultraviolet light from sunnier weather affects them.
Astudy published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, however, offers data to suggest that this particular coronavirus,SARS-CoV-2, seems impervious to temperature differences and only slightly affected by humidity. Anoutbreak in MumbaiandIndonesia's ongoing struggleto contain the virus highlight how the pandemic isaffecting countries across climate zones, including many regions at or near the equator.
It may be that fall and winter upswings could occur as a result of economies reopening and people coming into closer contact, transmitting the infection anew, but that reasoning is pure speculation and not the result of scientific study. We'll need to wait to see what actually transpires.
Different parts of the country are lifting lockdown orders at their own pace, including deciding when to open nonessential businesses.
Generally speaking, a "wave" in a pandemic is a period of increasing disease transmission following an overall decline. Currently, although cases of the coronavirus continue to increase in some parts of the US, rates of new infections appear to be decliningin the country overall. That same mix of upward and downward trends can be seen globally, prompting executive director of the World Health Organization Mike Ryan to estimate that we are "right in the middle of the first wave." If and when infection rates have declined across the board, then begin to climb again, that will indicate the next or "second wave." The longer the pandemic goes on, the more waves are likely to occur.
Read more: 7 things to not do when coronavirus lockdown and quarantine end
The coronavirus pandemichasn't affected all parts of the country in the same way or at the same time. Cities and states went into lockdown and quarantine at different times, and that's also how the country is starting to get out of it, with different areaseasing restrictions in phases and at their own pace.
Some health experts have warned the lack of a unified reopening planmight help spread the coronavirus andcould actually fuel a second wave as people travel from the hardest hit areas to places with far fewer infections. Ali Khan, a former CDC official, said a second wave might comprisemany simultaneous, smaller outbreaks that, taken together, seem more like a singular wave.
Now playing: Watch this: Vaccines, antibody tests, treatments: The science of...
Spikes in new coronavirus cases have already been documented in areas emerging from lockdown. Wisconsin, for example, experienced its biggest single-day increase in new infections and deaths exactly two weeks after the state Supreme Court overturned the governor's stay-at-home order. Georgia, which was one of the first states to start lifting lockdown orders, is beginning to see an uptick in new cases after several weeks of plateau.
Read more: Need another face mask? You can buy one online at any of these stores
Although some experts hope the coronavirus, like many other viruses, dissipates during hotter, sunnier weather, new research suggests temperature does not affect the virus.
If there is a second coronavirus wave, the severity of the outbreak would depend on multiple factors, like how well people maintain social distancing and howmany people wear face masks. The widespread availability of tests might also play a role, in addition to contract tracing for anyone who tests positive.
For example, a recent study and computer model developed under De Kai, a computer scientist with appointments at both the University of California at Berkeley and Hong Kong University, proposes that if 80% of the population wore face masks in public,coronavirus transmission rates would plummet(PDF) to about 8% compared to wearing no masks.
Basically, the more measures there are in place to help reduce disease transmission -- and the more effectively those measures are followed -- the lower the infection rate may be the second time around, according to the computer model.
Other factors that could come into play are any potentialgenetic mutations in the coronavirus that could make it more or less transmissible, thedevelopment of an effective vaccine, the development ofsafe, effective treatments for the COVID-19 disease and the ability to test a large number of the population, even people who don't appear to be sick.
Most experts agree that widespread testing will be necessary to help curb outbreaks while we wait for a coronavirus vaccine.
It's possible. Decisions about future quarantines are up to government leaders working with health officials, but there is an indication that the need could occur.
In some parts of the world that have experienced a second wave of coronavirus infections after lifting lockdown restrictions, such measures have been reinstated. About a month ago,Singapore, Hong Kong, theJapanese island of Hokkaido andsome areas of Chinaall brought back lockdown measures to combat a second instance of rising infection rates. More recently, Lebanon and South Korea have brought back such orders as well.
Until there's aneffective vaccine, it's possible that different parts of the world will see fluctuating degrees of lockdown as governments adjust their response in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus.
Perhaps the most pressing questions of all are what a second wave of coronavirus might mean for you. Here's how we think life will look after quarantine ends as the public braces for a second wave. If you do have to leave the house, here are some practical ways to stay safe when you go out. Finally, don't unlearn all the good habits you've developed during the pandemic -- like frequently washing your hands.
- Coronavirus - Wikipedia - June 22nd, 2020
- Young people in the US South and West are increasingly getting coronavirus - CNN - June 22nd, 2020
- Texas coronavirus cases, hospitalizations surging in big cities - The Texas Tribune - June 22nd, 2020
- What you need to know about coronavirus on Monday, June 22 - CNN - June 22nd, 2020
- How Germany Is Containing Its Outbreak With Contact Tracing : Shots - Health News - NPR - June 22nd, 2020
- Coronavirus daily news updates, June 22: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world - Seattle Times - June 22nd, 2020
- The U.S. has hamstrung itself: How America became the new Italy on coronavirus - POLITICO - June 22nd, 2020
- Texas coronavirus infections set daily record with 4,430 new cases - The Texas Tribune - June 22nd, 2020
- Coronavirus postponed a Texas election. Now there's even greater risk for some voters. - The Texas Tribune - June 22nd, 2020
- 5 Things To Watch This Week: Coronavirus, Politics And Police - NPR - June 22nd, 2020
- What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 22 June - World Economic Forum - June 22nd, 2020
- How Should We Reopen Hospitals That Closed Because of the Coronavirus? - The New York Times - June 22nd, 2020
- White House adviser: Trump administration preparing for possible second wave of coronavirus in the fall - CNN - June 22nd, 2020
- Coronavirus: Is the pandemic getting worse in the US? - BBC News - June 22nd, 2020
- Why doctors say UK is better prepared for a second wave of coronavirus - The Guardian - June 22nd, 2020
- The pandemic is not over we need to push now for a zero-coronavirus Britain - The Guardian - June 22nd, 2020
- Six Trump campaign staffers working on Tulsa rally test positive for coronavirus - CNN - June 22nd, 2020
- Two hair stylists with the coronavirus wore masks. So did their 140 clients. Of those tested, none got sick - cleveland.com - June 22nd, 2020
- Coronavirus could die out on its own, according to Italian expert: Report - silive.com - June 22nd, 2020
- The Latest: Surge in U.S. virus cases raises fear that progress is slipping - Press Herald - June 22nd, 2020
- Coronavirus: What's happening around the world Monday - CBC.ca - June 22nd, 2020
- Flushing the Toilet May Fling Coronavirus Aerosols All Over - The New York Times - June 22nd, 2020
- Coronavirus Live News and Updates - The New York Times - June 21st, 2020
- More young people across the South are testing positive for coronavirus, officials warn - CNN - June 21st, 2020
- Russia reopens ahead of Victory Day and Putin referendum -- but coronavirus threat remains - CNN - June 21st, 2020
- In Beijing it looked like coronavirus was gone. Now we're living with a second wave - The Guardian - June 21st, 2020
- Beijing's new outbreak is a reminder to the world that coronavirus can return at anytime - CNN - June 21st, 2020
- Arizonans see big jump in coronavirus cases, but don't see reason to wear masks - CNN - June 21st, 2020
- Global report: Trump says he ordered coronavirus testing to 'slow down' - The Guardian - June 21st, 2020
- Coronavirus shuts down Crowbar, the Orpheum and Skippers Smokehouse - Tampa Bay Times - June 21st, 2020
- U.S. banks are 'swimming in money' as deposits increase by $2 trillion amid the coronavirus - CNBC - June 21st, 2020
- Florida sets another single-day coronavirus case record with nearly 4,000 infections - Tampa Bay Times - June 21st, 2020
- Tens of thousands of Britons have died from coronavirus. But Boris Johnson is stoking a culture war. - CNN - June 21st, 2020
- High risk of coronavirus second wave as Australian shops and workplaces reopen, report says - The Guardian - June 21st, 2020
- Coronavirus surges arent linked to one single cause - The Register-Guard - June 21st, 2020
- 10 states are seeing their highest average of daily new Covid-19 cases since the pandemic started - CNN - June 21st, 2020
- NJ hits top ranking in coronavirus analysis, showing positive trends and signs of hope - NorthJersey.com - June 21st, 2020
- Coronavirus runs through crowded homes and must-do jobs, hitting people of color hard - San Francisco Chronicle - June 21st, 2020
- What it means to come into close contact with a coronavirus case and your risk of infection - CNBC - June 21st, 2020
- Texas Governor Says 'No Reason Today To Be Alarmed' As Coronavirus Cases Set Record - NPR - June 21st, 2020
- Putin has a 'disinfection tunnel,' Sweden feels isolated over coronavirus - CNBC - June 21st, 2020
- Pence Misleadingly Blames Coronavirus Spikes on Rise in Testing - The New York Times - June 21st, 2020
- Iceland now feels like the coronavirus never happened - CNN - June 21st, 2020
- Lessons on Coronavirus Testing From the Adult Film Industry - The New York Times - June 21st, 2020
- ESPYS honoree Kim Clavel took a break from boxing to fight coronavirus - CNN - June 21st, 2020
- Coronavirus in Florida: What you need to know Sunday, June 21 - TCPalm - June 21st, 2020
- Just 2.3% of new coronavirus test results in Wisconsin were positive the lowest on record - Green Bay Press Gazette - June 1st, 2020
- Coronavirus Testing: Should I Go For It Even If I Have No Symptoms? : Goats and Soda - NPR - June 1st, 2020
- Utah is averaging more than 200 new coronavirus cases a day over the past week as hot spots flare up from Logan to St. George - Salt Lake Tribune - June 1st, 2020
- Minneapolis, the Coronavirus, and Trumps Failure to See a Crisis Coming - The New Yorker - June 1st, 2020
- Growing Data Show Blacks And Latinos Bear The Brunt Of COVID-19 : Shots - Health News - NPR - June 1st, 2020
- Its Not Whether You Were Exposed to the Coronavirus. Its How Much. - The New York Times - June 1st, 2020
- Utah sees another spike in coronavirus cases, third big day in a row - Salt Lake Tribune - June 1st, 2020
- Coronavirus: The mystery of 'silent spreaders' - BBC News - June 1st, 2020
- Pangolins may have incubated the novel coronavirus, gene study shows - CNN - June 1st, 2020
- Coronavirus FAQs: Is It Safer To Fly Or Drive? Is Air Conditioning A Threat? - NPR - June 1st, 2020
- In Some Nations, Coronavirus Is Only One of Many Outbreaks - The New York Times - June 1st, 2020
- Coronavirus Showed How Globalization Broke the World - The New York Times - June 1st, 2020
- What we mean by a 'second peak' of coronavirus - CNN - June 1st, 2020
- Battered by Coronavirus Outbreak, NYC Finally Moves Toward Reopening - The New York Times - June 1st, 2020
- These Athletes Had the Coronavirus. Will They Ever Be the Same? - The New York Times - June 1st, 2020
- Teaching in the time of coronavirus: Finding creative ways to engage students - The San Diego Union-Tribune - June 1st, 2020
- How a decade of privatisation and cuts exposed England to coronavirus - The Guardian - June 1st, 2020
- The World Is Still Far From Herd Immunity for Coronavirus - The New York Times - June 1st, 2020
- Covid-19: will the governments mixed messages lead to another surge? - The Guardian - June 1st, 2020
- Things feel so dark, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says on riots, coronavirus and Midland flooding - MLive.com - June 1st, 2020
- What you need to know about coronavirus on Saturday, May 9 - CNN - May 9th, 2020
- The coronavirus pandemic is hitting black and brown Americans especially hard on all fronts - CNN - May 9th, 2020
- Three Children Have Died in N.Y. of Illness Linked to Virus: Live Updates - The New York Times - May 9th, 2020
- US falls short in coronavirus testing in some areas of the country - CNN - May 9th, 2020
- Tensions and backlash mount as US coronavirus reopenings reveal a new way of life - CNN - May 9th, 2020
- Coronavirus has created a rift between the US and China that may take a generation to heal - CNN - May 9th, 2020
- What We Know About Coronavirus Mutations : Goats and Soda - NPR - May 9th, 2020
- Once the coronavirus 'epicenter,' this American city reversed course - CNN - May 9th, 2020
- Youll Probably Never Know If You Had the Coronavirus in January - The Atlantic - May 9th, 2020
- Coronavirus threatens a guarded tradition for many black Americans: Voting in person - CNN - May 9th, 2020
- Coronavirus daily news updates, May 9: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the nation - Seattle Times - May 9th, 2020
- Trump administration rejects CDC guidance on reopening US amid coronavirus - CNN - May 9th, 2020
- How Will the Coronavirus Change Us? - The Atlantic - May 9th, 2020
- Coronavirus quickly spread around the world starting late last year, new genetic analysis shows - CNN - May 9th, 2020