• Dr. Soumi Eachempati

What are epidemiologists saying about the next Covid-19 wave?

Updated: May 13

CIDRAP (The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy), the highly respected global leader in evaluating infectious diseases since 2001, has released the possible scenarios that could occur after the current Covid-19 pandemic. In their recently published analysis, the authors from CIDRAP considered multiple factors concerning Covid-19 to understand what could happen after this current outbreak wanes. Some of the factors of Covid-19 that they examined included its mode of transmission, the characteristics of the virus itself, the value of society's control factors, and the history of similar pandemics.

In this analysis, the authors envisioned one of 3 plausible scenarios potentially occurring in the temperature Northern Hemisphere for the Covid-19 pandemic. In the first scenario, the current pandemic will decrease in scope by late summer but be followed by a series of smaller pandemics over the next two years. Scenario number 2 sees this first current pandemic actually exceeded by a larger more devastating wave in the winter of 2020 as it may combine with the expected flu season of that period. This second scenario essentially occurred in the Spanish flu pandemic during 1918-20 and proved catastrophic. Finally, their third scenario represents a continued slow wave of cases after the current pandemic without a discernible peak. Notably, though these models were examined for the Northern Hemisphere, they could also apply on slightly modified time scale in the Southern Hemisphere.

Each of these waves could occur until a vaccine is in place as societies are not protected with herd immunity or complete isolation. The development of new therapies will not pose much difference on the scale of the pandemic. The effects of these new treatments are exciting and move stock prices but do little to offset the number of new deaths. If successful, they just decrease the hospitalization days and the death rates.

These scenarios indicate that all businesses need to be prepared now with a concrete plan to monitor their employees and to mitigate outbreaks. Without such a strategy, their workplaces may be subject to localized outbreaks, hampered productivity, and talent evaporation. The Covid-19 pandemic is not ending because businesses are going back to work. The pandemic is just forcing businesses to face a different challenge.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/sites/default/files/public/downloads/cidrap-covid19-viewpoint-part1_0.pdf

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