(CNN/KFOR) — A second round of the coronavirus is “inevitable,” the nation’s top infectious disease doctor says, but just how bad it is will depend on the progress the US makes in the coming months.
“If by that time we have put into place all of the countermeasures that you need to address this, we should do reasonably well,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said. “If we don’t do that successfully, we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter.”
If states begin lifting restrictions too early, Fauci says he predicts the country could see a rebound of the virus that would “get us right back in the same boat that we were a few weeks ago,” adding that the country could see many more deaths than are currently predicted.
So far, more than 1 million Americans have been infected and at least 58,355 have died. A leading model predicts more than 72,000 people will die in the US by early August.
Being able to test for the virus, track cases and isolate every infected American will be key factors in ensuring that second wave isn’t as deadly, Fauci says.
The US continues to lag behind in testing, according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The nation has performed 16.4 tests per 1,000 people, according to the report. Spain and Italy, with the second and third highest number of cases after the US, have conducted 22.3 and 29.7 tests per 1,000 people respectively.
Fauci says the federal government needs to provide strategic guidance and assistance to help states up their number of conducted tests. He hopes he can guarantee everyone who needs a test can get one by the end of May or early June.
“The truth is that we’re going in the right direction,” he said. “But we need to continue to partner in a very active collaborative way with the states, we need to help them the same way they need to do the execution.”
In Oklahoma, Dr. David Chansolme, the Medical Director of Infection Prevention at INTEGRIS Health, agrees that a second wave can be expected.
“I think there will be several waves of illness. How severe each wave is will depend on characteristics of society, characteristics of behavior, characteristics of the virus, characteristics of the people who are acquiring the virus and how much that will tax the system remains to be seen,” said Dr. Chansolme. “My suspicion with COVID is we will probably see several waves of illness, but, hopefully, as herd immunity comes up by more and more people having the disease and ideally a vaccination later on that we can use to boost herd immunity, we will start to see those waves eventually flatten out.”