The Governments across the globe are struggling between livelihoods and lives. The urgency to resume the businesses to kickstart the economic cycle is equally important as the decision of lockdown and staying at home. Governments along with the World Health Organization are sailing through the turbulence wrought by the invisible enemy – COVID-19.
Coronavirus has created an emergency in terms of the health of its people, which then subsequently resulted in the economic downturn. The bearish market, reduced flow of liquidity, disconnect of businesses have ultimately led to ease the restrictions in lockdown.
Australia Government has finally eased its operations since the lockdown was announced after the first confirmed case in January 2020. A rapid increase in number of cases was witnessed in March with a reduction of daily reported cases in April. Finally, some relaxation in the imposed restrictions were allowed in May. Many other countries including Greece, Japan, Spain, Germany among others have somehow surpassed this critical phase and lifted the complete lockdown.
Though the world has started accepting the new wave of mask and gloves as a necessity now on but the worry of being infected is still taking a toll. Second wave of COVID-19 V2.0. is in action already. Let us figure out this concern and probability of its existence.
Second wave of COVID-19:
The second wave is a serious concern, as have been witnessed in some of the countries, such as China, Singapore, and Japan. The subsequent version of COVID-19 is even more dangerous as it will possess renewed strength. This will create the situation to re-implement lockdown and will lead to overburdened health systems.
The global outbreak induced by a pandemic, usually triggered by influenza, are caused by new pathogens for which no immune protection is built in humans. As is the case of COVID-19 which infected the human race at a larger scale. When a novel variant of flu virus is spread across the world and then recedes to come back again in some time and spread around the world is called as a Second wave. The first wave of the virus recedes when a large portion of infected people attains immunity or by creating herd immunity, thereby protecting the ones who have not been infected by reducing movement of virus. In case of Coronavirus, movement restrictions and social distancing measures will keep the virus away from spreading further. As mentioned by Chief Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, Michael J. Ryan, that lockdown helps create the pressure on capacity of coronavirus to survive. He further explained that in-case this pressure is lifted in one go, it gives the virus the ability to spread and develop more. Also, the WHO official mentioned that as the virus has spread to a larger population, it will take years to develop immunity against the virus on that large scale. Thus, the situation necessitates the availability of a vaccine.
Generally, the virus comes back when virus infected population moved towards the unexposed areas where immunity against the virus have not been developed. Also, some talks are happening for the mutant coronavirus, a new strain has evolved and is dominant across globe, which can be even more dangerous.
Risk associated with COVID-19 V2.0:
The world economy is already in a distress situation with some of the businesses filing bankruptcy, there has been a halt in the income generations especially for small and medium enterprises, increase in the unemployment rate, among other economic and social impacts. Also, the Governments are aiding the SMEs, old age, and unemployed people with various packages and funds to lessen the destruction.
With the occurrence of the second wave of COVID-19, the degree of damage to the health and economy will further intensify.
Situation at country level:
China was the first country to face the difficult time caused by coronavirus and the country undertook a complete lockdown to minimize the risk. However, with the advent of a few number of cases in northeast provinces and in the central city of Wuhan in May, the country is worried from the second wave disruptions. China is still suspected of having COVID-19 cases among its people.
Other economies reporting clusters of infection of COVID-19 V2.0 are Hong Kong and South Korea. These countries have renewed restrictions to put the economies under lockdown.
What best can be done:
As there is no defined exit strategy from the prevailing situation, the WHO recommends lifting the lockdown in pieces and vigilantly observe its consequences to take further decisions.
Also, WHO mentions that relaxation in restrictions should not be compromised with physical distancing, hygiene measures, and community participation. Essential steps on the public health side includes case finding, surveillance, quarantining, and contact tracing.
Regarding the prevailing fear from the second wave of COVID-19, Mr Ryan mentioned that they are closely observing every country and the lessons learned from any country will be surely shared with others.
In the absence of vaccine or treatment for Coronavirus, things which can secure the human lives can be the sharing of information across the economies and adopting the basic measures (hygiene and maintaining distance) in day today life. As we know that ‘Prevention is better than Cure’, but today, the situation is even more critical as we do not have a proper cure.