CDC warns second wave of coronavirus will likely be more devastating

As the U.S. states consider reopening, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that a second wave of the coronavirus could be worse as it coincides with flu season.

“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told the Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.

Redfield said having two respiratory outbreaks would burden the health care system. Previously, Redfield said the U.S. will experience the impact of COVID-19 for years.

 He said as stay-at-home orders are lifted, officials need to stress the continued importance of social distancing. They also need to massively increase  their ability to identify those infected through testing and locate everyone they interacted with through contact tracing. This would prevent new cases from turning into large outbreaks.

South Carolina and Georgia governors said they’ll ease restrictions this week even though they haven’t met government recommendations of a two-week downward trend in new cases before lifting measures.

In South Carolina, stores will open at 20 per cent capacity, or five people per 1,000 square feet. South Carolina had reported 4,439 infections and 124 deaths.

Tennessee announced the majority of the state’s businesses will be allowed to reopen on May 1. Some businesses can reopen Monday, the governor said. Tennessee reported 7,238 residents had the virus and 152 have died.

Alaska will allow some businesses — such as restaurants and hair salons — to reopen this week. They had 321 cases and nine deaths.

During the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic, the first wave hit the U.S. in the spring. A second, larger wave followed in the fall and winter during flu season.

Gerd Altmann photo

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