There is fear in the United States that a second wave of COVID-19 may hit the country this coming winter – around December, January, and February – which would cause more infections and deaths than the present wave.
This feared second wave is expected to come at the same time as the influenza season, which annually exacts a toll of infections and deaths in the US. ”We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time,” said Director Robert Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The combination, he said, will put even greater strain on the nation’s health system than the first outbreak.
More than 45,000 have now died from COVID-19 in the US, with some 810,000 infections. This has made the US the epicenter of the pandemic, its death toll exceeding those of China, Italy, Spain, and France.
A great deal of the global fear arises from the fact that little is known about COVID-19. It is now generally accepted that the virus spreads to other individuals through droplets in the coughing, sneezing, or even just the breathing of an infected person. This explains the call for “social distancing” – keeping two to three meters away from the next person. Social distancing in turn is maintained by avoiding mass gatherings, such as sports events, church services, mass transportation, street crowds. And close factory and office work.
The Philippines was one of the few countries in the world which banned mass gatherings early through a presidential order for an “enhanced community quarantine” — a lockdown that kept people at home, away from offices, factories, and other places of work. This has helped keep down COVID-19 infections in our country, but it has also kept poor families from earning enough for their daily food needs.
The enhanced community quarantine that has been in effect in Metro Manila and Luzon since March 15 was due to end April 30, but it has now been extended for two more weeks. Restrictions will be relaxed in areas where the danger is lowest.
Thus it should be possible to resume public works projects where workers labor in the open air. They just need transportation where social distancing can be maintained, and their companies should be able to provide provide this. The same is true of companies with office workers who must be able to keep their distance from one another.
COVID-19 has become a pandemic with no nation safe from the deadly virus. We are doing relatively better than many other countries with our early quarantine decision. We must also be thankful that this virus appears to be easily destroyed by the ultraviolet rays in sunlight, which we have in abundance in this country.
It also seems to prefer colder climates, so we will not share the fear that is now growing in the US that this coming winter may bring a second and more deadly wave of the COVID-19.