LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As parts of the United States begin to reopen and protests calling for an end to coronavirus-related closures grow both in California and across the nation, some health experts warn that rushing back to normal without a strategy could mean a second wave of COVID-19.
“Well there are two components to a second wave,” Dr. David Argus, CBS News medical contributor, said. “One is when we reopen the country in different states at different times. There are going to be cases that pop up and those cases will certainly yield others.”
The other component of a second wave is what the world saw with the 1918 flu pandemic, where the virus went around the globe multiple times before coming to an end in the summer of 1919.
“And so countries, what we are doing now, which is tremendous efforts to get rid of the virus, and then comes back again as we relax,” Argus said.
Argus said COVID-19 will be an ongoing issue until a vaccine is available — which he said was at least a year away — making continued social distancing efforts through at least summer very important.
“That we continue to social distance, whether it be at work, whether it be socially or whether it be at restaurants, we all have to do that,” he said. “Our behavior has to change.”
Along with continuing to practice social distancing, Argus said increased testing would be a key tool in the strategic reopening of the American economy.
“We’re going to have testing, we’re going to have testing and we’re going to have testing,” Argus said. “That is going to enable us to do it right so there’s not a significant second wave.”
Argus also said he was talking with heads of companies and encouraging them to stagger work shifts and come back in stages.
“Maybe there’s some different shifts that you can cut down dramatically the number of workers and enable social distancing,” he said.
And though some have suggested that COVID-19 infections might decline in the summer, Argus said there was no data showing that temperature could inactivate the virus.