The World Health Organization is warning of a second peak – not necessarily a second wave – of coronavirus cases.
During a media briefing on Monday, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said right now, we are “right in the middle of the first wave, globally."
“We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up," he added.
“We need to be also 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 that it's going to keep going down, and the way to get a number of months to get ready for a second wave – we may get a second peak in this way,” Ryan said.
Ryan warned that a second peak or wave could come during the normal influenza season, “which will greatly complicate things for disease control.”
Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said “all countries need to remain on high alert here. All countries need to be ready to rapidly detect cases, even countries that have had success in suppression. … Even countries that have seen a decline in cases must remain ready.”
Van Kerkhove said if given the opportunity, the virus will start an outbreak.
“A hallmark of coronaviruses is its ability to amplify in certain settings, its ability to cause transmission – or super spreading events. And we are seeing in a number of situations in these closed settings. When the virus has an opportunity, it can transmit readily," she said.