Second wave coming?

A second wave of the virus could be coming

The Times

Is this the second wave of coronavirus in Europe?

In France, Spain and Austria, after weeks of successful suppression, cases are ticking up again. In Belgium, which suffered one of the worst outbreaks in the world, the graph of new infections looks like a ski jump — an initial mountain, followed by a ramp.

Throughout Europe, from Poland to Oldham, the virus is returning. So are we, as Boris Johnson claims, at the beginning of the second wave? Is Belgium’s outbreak, and everyone else’s, set to take off once more? The boring answer is, it depends entirely on your definition.

Since the start of the pandemic, the question, “Will there be a second wave?” has been asked as if it is just another unknown about the biology of the virus — on a par with whether it infects cats or why it is worse for the elderly.

There is some truth in this characterisation. Some viruses are more likely to have second waves. Spanish flu, for instance, may have come in waves because it was, like many respiratory viruses, seasonal. But, equally, a second wave is not some sort of force of nature, an unstoppable viral tsunami.

It is — much like the first wave in fact — within our control.

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Is a second wave of coronavirus coming?

By Joe Harker

When dealing with the coronavirus there's a delicate balancing act between locking down to prevent the virus from spreading and reopening to keep businesses and jobs going.

Go too far one way and you risk ruining livelihoods, too far the other way and you leave lives to the mercy of the global pandemic.

Many countries got over their peak of the pandemic and have made an attempt to return to normal life, but are they in danger of being hit by a second wave?

The Claim:

Prime minister Boris Johnson warned that there were signs Europe was heading for a second wave of Covid-19 after his government imposed a quarantine upon people returning from holidays in Spain.

He insisted the decision to go abroad was up to the individual, but said there were spikes in cases across several countries which could represent the beginnings of a new wave.

He said: "What we have to do is take swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again.

"Let's be absolutely clear about what's happening in Europe, amongst some of our European friends, I'm afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic."

It would be the worst case scenario, an undoing of all the progress made in the months since first announcing a lockdown, and there are worries that we're seeing the early warning signs.

The Counter Claim:

However, analysis from The Times suggests the early signs of a second wave depend how you look at the situation.

It is within the power of various governments to prevent a second wave of the virus occurring in their countries, as they could choose to go back into lockdown if they so wished.

That would be devastating for many economies which are taking their first tentative steps towards recovery, while governments have racked up huge debts to keep the entire country from collapsing into financial ruin after a few months of inaction.

It would be best to maintain control of the situation which there is still a modicum of control over an unpredictable virus, restrictions can be reimposed if they need to be and it's still an early part of a potential second wave of the pandemic.

We have the power to dodge a second wave, though that would come at cost to the economy, and measures such as local lockdowns might help too. We're more prepared this time around.

The Facts:

The Daily Mirror reports that the rate of coronavirus infections is no longer falling in England, with a steady decline in new cases "tailing off".

More people are testing positive for Covid-19 in the UK and there are worries for the future as the virus survives better in the winter and could have a stronger resurgence in the coming months.

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