Is the worst of the pandemic behind us? Here’s what scientists know so far | Devi Sridhar

Posted by on June 11, 2020 2:00 am
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Categories: Global Stories

A second wave of coronavirus cases would be disastrous – but there are ways to prevent this happening

Over the weekend, there were no new deaths from coronavirus in London, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Slowly, the number of hospitalisations and deaths is falling across the UK. Rather than celebrating these early signs that the worst of the pandemic could be behind us, however, some scientists are warning of a second wave of infections – an increase in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks or months, which could occur even after a sustained fall in the number of cases. 

These warnings often refer back to the 1918 flu pandemic. That outbreak killed tens of millions of people when it returned the following winter in a deadlier form after the first outbreak had been controlled. But there’s a confusing lack of consensus from scientists about whether we’ll see a second wave of coronavirus cases. Although the future is uncertain, we can imagine four scenarios for what might come next. 

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