It’s time to stop talking about waves of coronavirus. This is a long, lingering epidemic that is only just getting started.
Since the pandemic began, the threat of a second, deadlier wave of coronavirus has captured the public imagination. The fear, which provokes viral Facebook posts and influences government strategy, is that this pandemic will follow a trajectory similar to that of the 1918 Spanish flu. Two-thirds of the 50 million who died would do so from October to December 1918, during a so-called “second wave”. But this fear may be misdirected. T he world is still yet to hit the peak of the first wave. And, until we get a vaccine, it likely never will.
Across the world, the pandemic is still accelerating. The first case was reported in China in late December. It took three months from that date to reach one million cases. The leap from 12 million cases to 13 million cases took just five days. A Reuters tally puts the total number of dead at 570,000. Daily deaths peaked in mid-April at 10,000 a day; since then they have hovered around the 5,000 mark.