On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that countries that are witnessing a decline in COVID-19 cases could still face an “immediate second peak.”
During an online briefing, WHO’s top health emergencies expert Dr. Mike Ryan explained that while case numbers are declining in many countries, for other parts of the world such as Central and South America, Africa and South Asia, cases are increasing.
Ryan added that epidemics often come in waves and that right now, the world is still in the middle of the first wave meaning cases could reappear later in places where the first wave has subsided. The rate the virus could reappear in these areas depends on how fast federal and local governments ease lockdown measures.
“When we speak about a second wave classically what we often mean is there will be a first wave of the disease by itself, and then it recurs months later. And that may be a reality for many countries in a number of months’ time,” Ryan said.
“But we need also to be cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time. We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now it is going to keep going down … We may get a second peak in this wave.”
He urged Europe and the United States, which have started easing lockdown restrictions to “continue to put in place the public health and social measures, the surveillance measures, the testing measures and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we continue on a downwards trajectory and we don’t have an immediate second peak.”
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