A top World Health Organization chief says Europe must prepare for a second deadly wave of the coronavirus instead of celebrating declining numbers of cases and fatalities.
The director for the WHO European region, Dr. Hans Kluge, said he was ‘very concerned’ an increase in infection rates would coincide with other seasonal diseases.
Dr. Khuge added that it is the time to increase bed capacity and strengthen healthcare systems to make sure countries are prepared for more patients even if the number of cases and fatalities today are declining.
France, Italy, and Spain are now showing positive signs of recovery, but Dr. Kluge stressed that it didn’t mean the coronavirus pandemic was about to end.
In an interview with The Telegraph, he said countries should use the time to strengthen the public health systems and learn from the first wave of infection.
“Singapore and Japan understood early on that this is not a time for celebration, it’s a time for preparation,” he expressed. “That’s what Scandinavian countries are doing – they don’t exclude a second wave, but they hope it will be localised and they can jump on it quickly.”
Experts agree that the infection will re-emerge in the absence of a cure or vaccine.
The deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van Tam, warned that the coronavirus will ‘absolutely come back.’
“I’m very concerned about a double wave – in the fall, we could have a second wave of Covid and another one of seasonal flu or measles,” Dr. Kluge added. His remarks echo those of other scientists who have warned of a second wave that could be disastrous for healthcare systems.
Robin Shattock of Imperial College told The Times: “The real big danger is if we see the kind of number of cases of Covid-19 that we’re seeing now next winter — and we also have a seasonal flu. That could be a double whammy for the health service.”
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