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COVID-19: Second Wave

COVID-19: Second Wave

women grabbing a green apple wearing a mask in the grocery store

Source: freepik.com

With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in the early part of 2020, specialists pondered on the probability of ripples of cases, a style observed in earlier virus pandemics.  Earlier on, some localities that experienced an excessive rate of Covid-19 transmissions which was followed by a reduction are currently experiencing a surge of “second wave”. A spike occurs when there is an increase in the total number of people falling ill with the Covid-19.

 

Causes of the Covid-19 Spikes

As restrictions were being lifted and the economy was being re-opened, various small businesses like retail outlets, bars, and restaurants went into full operations in the last quarter of 2020. Everyone was anxious to re-start their normal activities. However, the rate of transmission was still relatively high in some localities, thereby making it easy for the infection of the virus to be re-activated as people resumed everyday activities which increased relations.

 

Medical practitioners advised that adherence to Covid-19 protocols was vital; using of face-masks, hand washing, physical distancing, and checking for traits. Regrettably, the combo of lifting the restrictions and the negligence in adherence to Covid-19 protocols has led to a resurgence in the transmission rate.

 

It could take close to two weeks for an infected person to fall ill enough to seek the attention of a doctor to get tested and it takes a longer time frame for more people to break down after getting in contact with an infected individual.  There must be diverse cycles of transmission for an obvious spike to be observed.  

 

Meaning that when the restriction is lifted in a particular locality and laxity of Covid-19 protocols is experienced, it will take up to four weeks for the impact of this laxity to be noticed. Besides, after so many months of lockdown that has crippled economic activities causing financial challenges and psychological distress, people are automatically tired of adhering to the Covid-19 pre-cautionary measures. The aforementioned are reasons for the resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Many countries are now experiencing the spike of the second-wave of COVID-19. Transmission rates are on the rise in Europe and American states are not left out. This reappearance is very apparent in Europe, thereby leading to stronger restrictions.  For instance, Ireland is going on a six-week lockdown, though schools will not be shut. However, eateries’ operations will be restricted to just takeaways while small business outlets will remain shut. A restriction has also been placed on any travel over a 5-kilometer range.  

The British have creatively developed a three-tier system; medium, high, and very high-risk localities. Almost all businesses are allowed to operate in medium-risk localities, except nightclubs. People have been instructed not to meet outside, to avoid the use of public transportation, and stay at home in high-risk localities. Crowded gatherings have been put on hold long with the serving of alcoholic beverages in very high-risk localities. These restrictions are directed at bringing social life to a halt concerning the explosion of social life during the initial lift of the lockdown in Europe. The Government did not put into cognizance the emergence of a second wave of the virus.

Sequel to the United Kingdom, South Africa has found a new strain of the Covid-19 which has led to a spike in transmission rates, precipitating a second wave.

Countries around the globe are implementing a second lockdown. Israel was the first country to implement a lockdown for three weeks. However, the lift would be gradual which could take a whole year. The Netherlands and Spain's Catalonia have also executed a second lockdown.

Presently, administrations the world over have revealed a contemporary procedure, taking off with night curfews to keep people at home and restrictions on outlets serving alcohol.  This approach has been embraced by France and Belgium invariably leading to enormous loss in the bar business.  Some American states are also experiencing a re-emergence of Covid-19.  States like New York, Texas, and California are putting curbs in place yet again; placing restrictions on bars and pubs for a partial operation or a total closure.

Furthermore, specialists have reiterated that a lockdown cannot eradicate the pandemic but will only reduce the transmission rate which will buy reasonable time for countries to come up with workable measures to battle the virus.  The current curtailment will reduce the transmission rate drastically. Nevertheless, the availability of a vaccine is crucial to prevent a third lockdown a few months down the line.

 

New Strain

Source: freepik.com

The New Strain of Covid-19

According to U.K. health agencies on 14th December, 2020 a new SARS-CoV-2 variant was found through genomic sequencing. On 21st December, 2020, the World Health Organization report attested to this.   This attestation came after a declaration of a total of 1,108 cases of the new SARS-CoV-2 strain was detected in the U.K. This has led to countries putting on hold transport connection with the U.K. Other countries have placed an embargo on travel from countries with cases of the new strain also.

Detection of the "new strain" has activated a new universal trepidation and new lockdowns.  The new strain is called SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, diminutive for the first “variant under investigation” in December 2020 as attested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC).  This variant was discovered as part of an epidemiological and virological investigation that commenced in early December 2020. Scientists masterminded a incessant scrutiny of micro mutations in viruses, most especially SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the present pandemic.

The unprecedented increase in COVID-19 cases in South East England set off speculation.   This variant was recognized in people below 60 years with PCR-established Covid-19 cases.   Preliminary surveys show that this variant may transmit easily between people.  Continuous study is still ongoing by Virologists to understand the workings of the new strain. Specialists attested that the variant was tracked down to Kent in southeast England, as far back as 20th September 2020. 

 

By October, the variant’s transmission rate had multiplied expeditiously through the region, as stated by the World Health Organization. The rapid transmission rate continued to increase at an unprecedented pace throughout November. This elicited an inquiry and revelation of the mutation of the virus in the early part of December 2020. From 5th October to 13th December above average of the viral specimen from southeast England was discovered to be the VUI 202012/01 strain after being sequenced.

The new variant of Covid-19 has been reported in the following countries currently:  Australia, The Netherlands, China, Denmark, Lebanon, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Israel, India, France, Iceland, Switzerland, Germany, U.S (California, Florida)   U.K. health agencies attested to the possibility of the variant being seventy per-cent more infectious than the original strain of the virus.  

 

Examination is on-going to find out the following:

 

  1. If it can re-infect people who previously had COVID-19
  2. If the variant is more infectious;
  3. If it causes people to become more seriously sick; and
  4. What kind of antibody response the new variant elicits.

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