A 2nd wave of coronavirus may already be underway, experts say

·Writer
As states begin the reopening process, there are concerns about areas experiencing a second wave, or even a second peak, of COVID-19 cases. (Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)
As states begin the reopening process, there are concerns about areas experiencing a second wave, or even a second peak, of COVID-19 cases. (Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Most states across the country have eased lockdown restrictions, and some have had restrictions lifted for weeks. And now, a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases has followed.

Nearly half of states have seen an increase in cases, according to an analysis by the Associated Press of data from the COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer organization that collects data on COVID-19 cases across the U.S. The increases are largely being seen across the South and Western parts of the U.S., the analysis found.

COVID Exit Strategy, a data-tracking website that similarly breaks down COVID-19 cases by state, clearly shows via data and a poignant graphic on its website that many states across the country are currently experiencing a surge in cases. Cases in Arizona and Arkansas, for example, have increased about 198 percent in the past two weeks. During that same time frame, cases in North Carolina have jumped up 54 percent.

While there’s no clear link to what has sparked the rise in these cases, experts say a lack of restrictions may be fueling it. Arizona, for example, started to see an increase in cases about 10 days after stay-at-home restrictions were lifted, and there were no requirements to wear face masks, the AP points out. But this is expected, Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Yahoo Life. “As people interact, you’re going to see upticks in cases in certain parts of the country,” he says.

This could, in fact, be the second wave that public health experts have warned about, Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life. “I think this is it,” he says.

However, there is some debate. This isn’t necessarily a second wave everywhere, points out Ryan Panchadsaram, former U.S. deputy chief technology officer at the White House during the Obama administration and co-founder of COVID Exit Strategy. “Each state has its own unique story. For many states, this is not a second wave. It's an amplification of the first one,” he tells Yahoo Life.

“Most states have not fully cleared their ‘first wave’ and the new cases we are observing may still be part of that wave,” Jason Yang, a research faculty member with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and a member of the Rutgers Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, tells Yahoo Life. “There is a possibility that some regions may be encountering a second wave, but this is not yet true for the country as a whole.”

For weeks, public health officials have warned that a second wave of COVID-19 cases is possible. Recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, doubled down on his comments that a second wave of the virus could happen. However, he told CNN that it’s not “inevitable.”

“We often talk about the possibility of a second wave, or of an outbreak, when you’re reopening. We don’t have to accept that as an inevitability,” he said. “It could happen, but it is not inevitable. If we do the kinds of things that we’re putting in place now, to have the workforce, the system and the will to do the kinds of things that ought to be clear and effective — identification, isolation and contact tracing — we can prevent this second wave that we’re talking about, if we do it correctly.”

But now there’s another term floating out there with regard to the spread of the coronavirus: second peak. Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme, recently used it during a media briefing.

“We need to be also cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time,” he said, according to CNN. “We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now that it’s going to keep going down.” Ryan added that some areas may “get a number of months to get ready for a second wave — we may get a second peak in this way.”

Ryan also said a second peak or wave could come at the same time as flu season.

This raises a lot of questions — particularly, is a second wave the same as a second peak? Here’s what you need to know.

What is a second wave?

Both of these terms are slightly open to interpretation. “There’s a bit of confusion about whether ‘second peak’ and ‘second wave’ are the same thing. They’ve been used interchangeably, and it’s a little confusing,” Schaffner says. But in general, a second wave of COVID-19 refers to “concerns about an increase in cases as states open up again,” he says.

A second wave can also be used to refer to illnesses like multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, which can happen weeks after an initial COVID-19 infection, Dr. Lawrence Kleinman, survey/data core director at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, tells Yahoo Life. “Even though it’s from the initial infection, it’s been referred to as a second wave of illness,” he says. However, he adds, when Fauci and Ryan use the term, they’re likely referring to a large swell in cases.

What is a second peak?

The term “second peak” is a little clearer. It refers to a rapid increase in cases followed by a drop-off, Adalja says. “The second peak doesn’t necessarily have to be as high as the first peak, but you can clearly see it on a graph,” he says.

“We have to expect that cases may rise again because the virus is still out there,” Adalja says. As people become relaxed about practicing social distancing, “the virus is going to take advantage of that.”

As for what a second peak will look like, experts say it’s hard to tell at the moment. “I think we are better prepared now than we were,” Schaffner says. “Certainly, we have testing much more widely available.” Many health departments also now have a higher capacity for contact tracing, and hospitals have more room, procedures and equipment to deal with infected people, he says.

Can there be a second wave and second peak at the same time?

The answer is yes. A huge concern for the medical community is that a second wave and second peak of cases could coincide with flu season. “We’re concerned there might be an even larger increase this winter along with the flu — that could strain the health care system again,” Schaffner says. 

“In the late fall and winter, people anticipate that COVID-19 and flu would be playing tag team, sometimes peaking together, sometimes happening separately in different parts of the country. That could be a much more serious circumstance,” Schaffner explains.

While many areas are expecting a second wave and second peak this winter, Adalja points out that some places — like Montgomery, Ala.; Arkansas; and Minnesota’s Twin Cities region — are already experiencing a second wave of cases.

Is this new increase in cases the second wave, or will that only happen in the fall?

It’s hard to say for sure. “The terms ‘second wave’ and ‘second peak’ don’t have exact definitions,” Adalja says. “We’re still having 20,000 new cases per day. It’s not that we’ve had some kind of trough in new case counts.” Certain states have seen dips in their numbers—largely in the Northeast—but it’s not uniform across the country, Adalja points out. “In about half of states it’s going up, in half it’s going down,” he says. “That’s what we’re going to see—local waves that occur.”

Public health officials expect that there will be a major wave of cases in the fall but, whether that’s a second or third peak is unclear at this point. Either way, it’s expected to happen. “No one is going around numbering waves but, as we get to the fall, we worry about many places having increased transmission,” Adalja says. “We’re prepared for intense spread in the fall because of seasonality.”

“It does now appear that this is the second wave, and a third wave will be in the fall,” Schaffner says.

Until there is a vaccine, waves and peaks can keep happening. “There is no finite number of peaks and valleys that we might see,” Kleinman says. “States will continue to experience spikes as long as they are not strongly reinforcing re-opening practices, from mandating masks to restricting large gatherings to requiring proper protocols for offices [and] businesses,” Panchadsaram says. “As a datapoint, only 38 states have a mask policy. Twenty six of them recommend it, 12 mandate it. Masks are the simplest, cheapest solution we have to stopping the spread of COVID-19.”

Overall, Kleinman stresses that the best way to lower the risk of another wave of cases — and another peak — is to keep practicing the guidelines of COVID-19 prevention and acknowledge that things aren’t the way they used to be. “It’s an illusion to think the things we used to do are safe,” he says.

This story was originally published on May 28, 2020 at 4:06 p.m. ET and has been updated to include new information on coronavirus cases in the U.S.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides. 

Read more from Yahoo Life

Want daily lifestyle and wellness news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo Life’s newsletter.

More From

  • This podiatrist-approved shoe brand just slashed its prices — get 40 percent off

    These comfy shoes don't look like comfy shoes: Grab a new pair of flats, sandals or sneakers, starting at just $54.

  • Raise a glass to freedom over three historic recipes perfect the Hamilton premiere on Disney+

    If you’re feeling young, scrappy, and hungry - or just hungry - while awaiting the Hamilton premiere, look no further. We’re here to help you make the story of tonight a success in a way that would make our Founding Father without a father proud.  Sure, you could entertain your premiere party guests with Hurricanes to drink, A Winter’s Meatball dip, A. Ham-burgers from the grill with a side of You Will Never Be Satisfries, and end the night with a World Turned Upside Down Cake. The Hamilton food puns are plentiful. But history has its eyes on you, so let’s take a look at what the esteemed Alexander Hamilton might have feasted on while watching his eponymous musical. While historians may not know much about what the first U.S Secretary of the Treasury actually ate - his writings rarely mention food - we can assume by his location and circumstances what he may have enjoyed throughout his life.  From the West Indies to New York City  As a child growing up relatively poor in the West Indies - first in Nevis and then on St. Croix - Hamilton likely would have been raised on stews, rice & peas, fresh island fruits, conch, and a cornmeal flatbread like Johnny Cakes.   Variations on Johnny Cakes - known by a myriad of names - can be found from the islands of Hamilton’s youth on up the Eastern seaboard all the way to Canada. When Hamilton arrived in New York City in 1772, it’s likely he would have discovered an adaptation of this island staple.   What would a Johnny Cake have tasted like in Hamilton’s time? Thankfully, there’s a cookbook to tell us. American Cookery, published in 1796, is the first known cookbook written by an American. Its author, Amelia Simmons, describes herself as “an American orphan” and was likely a domestic worker somewhere in New York’s Hudson Valley.  The book features recipes for early American staples pumpkin pie and suggests serving cranberry with turkey. It also includes a “Johny Cake, or Hoe Cake” recipe. Simmons’ recipe below uses shortening and molasses, something you won’t find in many Johnny Cake recipes today.  Tastes like 1776, New York City.  Working in the nation’s early capital - Philadelphia  Though Hamilton called New York City home for most of his adult life, he spent a considerable amount of time working in Philadelphia, even residing there temporarily while the city served as the nation’s capital. While it would be years before Hamilton could have enjoyed an iconic Philly cheesesteak on his lunch break, he most certainly would have savored its popular predecessor, Pepper Pot Soup.   “Pepper Pot is the most famous soup in American history that most people have never heard of,” remarks Tonya Hopkins, food historian and Foodizen podcast host. “It originated in Africa, bloomed and blossomed in the Caribbean, and became the first signature dish of Philadelphia.”  “Pepper Pot women” were among the earliest street vendors in the city, lining the streets along the port. “Pepper Pot was made and sold for pennies per serving, almost entirely by free black women,” Hopkins continues. “This was the street food of Philadelphia at the time.”  There are many renditions of Pepper Pot Soup available online. Campbell’s even offered their own canned version from 1899 - 2010.  Most recipes are similar in that they utilize affordable cuts of beef, leafy greens, lots of herbs, spices, and chili peppers native to the Caribbean.  Hopkins, who comes from a long line of cooks, says her recipe was based on a version she sampled at Philadelphia’s City Tavern, but then took on a life of its own.  “When I make a soup, I’m not the only person in the room,” says Hopkins. “It becomes a medium for me to communicate with my ancestors. The soup starts to make itself.”  Dinner in “The Room Where It Happened”  What would a Hamilton premiere menu be without a dish from “The Room Where It Happened”?  This musical number tells the story of the Compromise of 1790, made over a fabled dinner where Thomas Jefferson and James Madison met with Alexander Hamilton to discuss his federal taxation plan. As stated in the song, the men walked into dinner ‘diametric’ly opposed, foes’ but left with Madison agreeing to back Hamilton’s policy in Congress. In return, Hamilton would support moving the nation’s capital to the Potomac, so the Virginians could ‘work a little closer to home.’  Often considered America’s founding foodie, Thomas Jefferson was known for his elaborate dinner parties, prepared by enslaved James Hemings, the nation’s first French-trained chef. Hemings had traveled to France with Jefferson to study the culinary arts and served as the chef de cuisine at America’s first diplomatic embassy there. He is credited with introducing classic foods like French fries and ice cream to the fledgling nation upon his return. Based on historical records, we know much of what was on the dinner menu on June 20, 1790, including capon stuffed with Virginia ham, boeuf a la mode, and a take on modern day profiteroles that author Charles Cerami describes in his book “Dinner at the Jefferson’s,” as such:  “At the precise moment when the evening was approaching perfection came the universally favorite dessert — the delicious vanilla ice cream that still seemed like a miracle, for it was enclosed in a warm pastry, like a cream puff, giving the illusion that the ice cream had come straight from the oven,” Cerami writes. “It never failed to elicit cries from the groups of diners at Monticello, and it did not fail now. Even Madison gave a small squeal, and Hamilton positively exulted." The recipe below pays homage to the dessert served as this famous dinner, with a modern day adaptation of Hemings’ ice cream recipe, and nod to Hamilton’s love of caffeinated beverages in the coffee fudge sauce.  This dessert is sure to please even those who will never be satisfied.  Regardless of what’s on your menu, be sure to raise a glass - or a shot - to freedom this weekend and enjoy Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece. Hamilton will be released on Disney+ at 12 AM PST (3 AM EST) on Friday, July 3rd.  Featured Recipes JOHNY CAKE, OR HOE CAKE Adapted from Amelia Simmons, American Cookery   Makes 12 cakes Ingredients: 2 cups cornmeal  1 cup milk 1/2 tbsp molasses 1 tbsp vegetable shortening 1/2 tsp salt  Directions: Mix salt and cornmeal in a medium bowl.  Scald milk (bring to just below a boil) and remove from heat. Whisk in molasses and shortening until dissolved. Let cool slightly.  Pour milk mixture into cornmeal and stir to thoroughly combine. Spoon mixture onto baking sheet in 12 2-3 inch circles.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  PHILADELPHIA PEPPER POT SOUP Recipe by Tonya Hopkins Makes about 6 quarts Ingredients: 1 large cassava (peeled, cored and cut into chunks) 2 small sweet potatoes, diced 5 strips thick-cut bacon, cut in 1 to 2 inch pieces 1½ pounds stewing beef, cut into 1 or 2 inch cubes 3 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste) 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ½ teaspoon allspice ½ teaspoon ground cloves ¼ teaspoon paprika ½ teaspoon smoked paprika 1½ teaspoon onion powder 1½ teaspoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon tapioca cornstarch 1 medium sized onion, diced 1 bunch scallions, greens diced, whites chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 poblano pepper, diced 1 each (small) red, yellow and orange bell peppers, diced 1 habanero* minced (don’t discard seeds to stir into simmering stew if you prefer more heat) 1 small to medium jalapeno minced ½ pound leafy greens, such as collards, kale, callaloo) stemmed and cut into strips 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme Beef Stock (about 32 ounces or more to cover) ¼ cup dry red wine (optional) Directions: In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, allspice, cloves, paprika, onion and garlic powders. Season beef cubes with half the mixture, and set aside.  Peel and cut cassava, discarding hard, fibrous parts. Bring a medium size pot of salted water to boil, then add cassava chunks. Simmer until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, coarsely smash to chunky consistency. Set aside.  While the cassava is cooking, brown bacon on both sides until just crisp in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Remove and set aside, leaving the rendered fat.  Lightly dredge seasoned beef in starch, then brown beef on all sides in the bacon fat a single layer in the pot. Brown beef in batches if necessary.  Add sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, peppers to the pot, sprinkling in the seasoning mix on top. Stir. Cover and let simmer until vegetables soften and become aromatic, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle in additional starch (up to 2 teaspoons) for thickener, stir well. Stir in stock, wine, fresh thyme leaves and cassava mash. Bring to just under a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.  Add bacon pieces, scallions and seasoned greens and continue simmering until greens are tender.  Remove from heat and let the soup rest for a few min before serving. Remove thyme stems before serving. Adjust with any additional salt, pepper and other seasoning to taste. PROFITEROLES WITH CHOCOLATE COFFEE SAUCE Serves 6 Pâte à choux:  ½ cup water  ½ cup flour  ¼ cup butter  2 eggs Vanilla ice cream:  1 qt heavy whipping cream  1/2 cup sugar  3 large egg yolks  1 vanilla bean, halved with beans scraped   Chocolate coffee sauce:  1/2 pint heavy cream  1/2 cup sugar  2 tbsp butter 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, like Scharffen Berger  2 tbsp cocoa powder, like Valhrona  2 tbsp espresso powder  ½ tsp vanilla extract  Pinch of salt  For the ice cream:  In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine cream, ½ the sugar, and vanilla bean (including the pod). Stir to combine and bring the mixture just to a boil.   In a metal bowl, whisk together the eggs yolks with the remaining sugar until the mixture thickens and pales.  Pour 1/3 of the hot cream mixture into the eggs yolks, whisking constantly. Then add another ⅓ of the hot cream mixture, continue whisking.  Return this mixture to the saucepan and continue whisking over low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil.   Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then at least 2 hours or overnight.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer, and then freeze according to ice cream freezer/maker instructions.  For the sauce:  In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine heavy cream, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer and whisk in chocolate.  When chocolate has melted, add cocoa and espresso powder and whisk until no lumps remain. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat before serving.    For the pâte à choux:  Combine butter and water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms into a ball.  Remove from stove and add one egg and a time, beating until fully incorporated. Spoon dough onto a greased cookie sheet in circular shapes with the center slightly raised, 1 ½ inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then continue for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Once slightly cooled, cut in half and serve with a scoop of ice cream, drizzled with the sauce.

  • Clarks just took 40 percent off these podiatrist-approved sandals and flats

    This Clarks sale can't be beat for style and comfort—prices start at just $30, with free shipping.

  • Amazon's massive 4th of July sale just launched—shop these deals before they sell out

    Amazon's stellar discounts on TVs, grills, clothing, kitchen essentials and more is definitely something to celebrate.