As states look toward beginning to reopen their economies, health experts are warning of a possible second wave of COVID-19 that could emerge later this year and make for an even more dire health crisis.
Dr. Gregory Poland, a Mayo Clinic COVID-19 expert, offers his insight on the effect of a potential second wave of COVID-19 this coming fall in the U.S.
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Gregory Poland are in the downloads at the end of the post. Please courtesy "Gregory Poland, M.D. / Vaccine Research Group / Mayo Clinic."
"This is an area where, as somebody who studies these viruses and as a vaccinologist, I have grave concerns. When you think about this COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., it started in mid to late February, so we were in fact past our influenza epidemic. It's unlikely that will happen this fall. Rather, we will have, in an overlapping fashion, influenza epidemics and COVID-19 recurrence occurring."
One problem with that potential scenario, he says, is that the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 overlap nearly exactly.
"The second (concern) is the tremendous surge in demand on the medical system, and the third will be the anxiety around that. Do we really close everything down again and do what we've just been through over the last several months?"
"What's really going to be key is to encourage everybody 6 months of age and older, which is the national recommendation, to get a flu vaccine and in this case to get it as early as it's available ― not wait until December and January."
For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information and COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.