A brilliant thread about what a second wave of coronavirus actually means. Is it guaranteed? Can it be prevented? How catastrophic would it be? Different views and different possible outcomes.


First published in June 2020.

Confused why scientists disagree about a 'second wave'? Thread attempting to explain:

1. Definition of 'second wave' debated. Some think it's any increase in cases after a sustained drop over days. Others think it is an increase after prolonged period (months) of few cases.

2. Some think the virus will mutate to a milder or less infectious version (no evidence yet, just theory).

3. Others think there's been broad population exposure to this virus and/or there's cross-immunity from other viruses. They think antibody (serology) test estimates (5-6% of population have antibodies to #SARSCoV2) don't show role of T-cells, etc. (no evidence yet, just theory).

4. Others think a second wave can be avoided with aggressive containment (test/trace/isolate) & individual behaviours (handwashing/distancing) resulting in virus numbers becoming so low, transmission limited to discrete, containable outbreaks. (e.g.South Korea, Germany). My view.

5. Finally some think that regardless of what is attempted by governments, a second wave is inevitable. That ultimately this virus is unstoppable (like flu) until 60-80% of people is exposed. Hopefully some population immunity builds up & virus becomes endemic (herd immunity).

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[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 9 June 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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