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Health experts say second wave of COVID-19 possible

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — As some states take steps to reopen, some health experts are saying that we could experience a so-called “second wave” of COVID-19 infections.

When shelter in place orders began, some in the public health sector warned that the spread of coronavirus might not be linear, rather a rollercoaster of surges. With some California counties starting to reopen this week, experts say a reminder of that is timely.

“I think we’ve really dodged a bullet in this initial phase of the virus, but there’s no doubt we’re going to a see second spike,” Dr. Jahan Fahimi said. “And just like with the first wave, the question is, how big will that spike be.”

The answer is unclear, along with when a second wave could be expected. The CDC works with numerous research institutions to create forecasting models, but most projections are for just a few weeks out.

“The good news is that we have a lot of preparations that we’ve undertaken that are in place, and so we’re definitely more prepared for a potential surge than we were, let’s say a month ago, or two months ago, when this was all very, very new,” Dr. Fahimi said.

That preparedness includes better hospital workflows and access to personal protective equipment. Also, better testing capabilities for vulnerable populations, such as the homeless, or people living in nursing facilities.

Still, experts say a slow reopening process is advantageous from a health perspective.

“We do need to get there, and we need to get there in a very data-driven, methodologically rigorous way, that really pays attention to what’s happening in the community, without just kind of reopening broadly and fast,” Dr. Fahimi said.

Realistically, that could mean continuing some measure of physical distancing until a vaccine is widely implemented.

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