Infectious Diseases

The World Health Organization (WHO) Raises Alarm about Second Peak of COVID-19 Infections

Posted on 26 May 2020

The World Health Organization has warned of the risks of an “immediate second peak” as countries ease up on lockdowns, urging governments in Europe and the US to step up surveillance, testing and tracking measures to keep the disease under control.

Aljazeera https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/sounds-warning-coronavirus-peak-live-updates-200526002031517.html

Yesterday, on the 25th of May 2020, during his semi-regular briefing to the media the Director-General of the WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus raised the alarm of a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

WHO warns of ‘second peak’ in areas where Covid-19 is declining. Countries where coronavirus infections are declining could still face an “immediate second peak” if they let up too soon on measures to contain the outbreak, the World Health Organization said on Monday. The WHO emergencies chief, Dr Mike Ryan, told an online briefing: “We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now it is going to keep going down and we are get a number of months to get ready for a second wave. We may get a second peak in this wave.”

The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/may/26/coronavirus-live-news-covid-19-uupdates-who-drops-hydroxychloroquine-trial-as-mexico-death-toll-questioned?page=with:block-5ecc80678f0886ce4f5da3d8#block-5ecc80678f0886ce4f5da3d8

Pertaining to the second wave of infections, The Guardian has also written an article about the things we can learn from the 1918 flu pandemic. They highlight that in 1918 once the restrictions were relaxed after the first wave of infections — a much bigger second wave, and subsequent third wave of infections followed — killing thousands and millions of people, and lasting over 2 years.

A scientific graph from the 1918 ‘Spanish’ flu pandemic showing mortality rates in the US and Europe. Image highlights first, second, and third waves of infections spanning over 18-months.
A scientific graph from the 1918 ‘Spanish’ flu pandemic showing mortality rates in the US and Europe. Image highlights first, second, and third waves of infections spanning over 18-months.

References

WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 25 May 2020: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

WHO sounds warning on coronavirus 'second peak': Live updates: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/sounds-warning-coronavirus-peak-live-updates-200526002031517.html

What the 1918 flu pandemic tells us about whether social distancing works: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/29/us-responses-1918-flu-pandemic-offer-stark-lessons-coronavirus-now

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