In many countries, the first wave of the coronavirus ended at the beginning of summer with the onset of the heat. In early autumn, a second wave of the coronavirus appeared. Many countries were already in crisis. The global crisis also deepened. Countries that allowed themselves a total lockdown in March could not afford it again, for economic reasons. Restrictions in many countries were smaller than during the first wave. Despite this, the number of cases was similar. Countries were already prepared and learned from the experience of a few months ago. Until the new virus mutated, the second wave was similar to the first one.
Now coronavirus isn’t getting weaker, and new mutations mean that the third wave could be more dangerous than the previous two. However, there is an effective remedy – a vaccine. We all hope the vaccine will protect us from a third wave. But factors such as travelers returning from red zones, schools that remain open and mutations of the virus could contribute to another wave, despite the start of vaccination.
Whether a third wave will come, and how big it will be, depends on several factors.
- A mutation of the virus that has appeared in the UK – the new English variant of SARS CoV-2 (B.1.1.7) is at least one and a half times more infectious than before. Currently, the virus is spreading slowly, but it may soon be present everywhere. And what is the result? There will be more cases of infection.
- Returning travelers from high-risk countries – as a solution to this problem, people are tested for the virus before entering a country. Keep in mind, that testing is often done 48-72 hours before scheduled travel.
- Accelerated vaccine production – The sooner we get vaccinated, the more successful we are in preventing the third wave. The hope is that fewer people will get sick after being vaccinated, and those who have been vaccinated will transmit the virus less to others (this seems to be the case, although it is not yet known for sure). We have no certainty about the efficacy of the developed vaccines. We also don’t know if the new vaccines will protect us from the new virus variants.
- Lack of self-discipline – we’ve been living in a pandemic for less than a year (COVID-19 on March 11, 2020 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). We are all tired of the restrictions imposed in different countries. We want to return to a normal life. But it is not the time for it. We should still avoid large gatherings, stay indoors, especially when we are sick, if we are outdoors we should wear clean masks, use disinfectant fluids, keep a distance. If each of us put this into practice, maybe we can avoid the 3rd wave of coronavirus.
Some countries like the USA are already in the third stage of epidemics. Some are close to it. The third wave is unavoidable, but there is something we can do to reduce it so that hospitals are not overburdened again. So let’s follow the rules and wait for the results on vaccine effectiveness. As for today (01.02), most people have been vaccinated in Israel – almost half of the population got first dose of the Pfizer vaccination. So we can expect the first reports of vaccine effectiveness from Israel. If the optimistic data from there holds true, it will be the best proof that mass vaccination against COVID-19 guarantees a “return to normality.
For now, until we don’t have any data about how effective are vaccinations we should put disinfections as a part of our lives. Frequent hand washing should become our daily routine. When it is not possible to wash our hands, we should use hand sanitizers. They are able to kill the most dangerous bacteria and viruses – even 99.99% of them. There is a wide range of hand sanitizers on the market today, so there is something for everyone. To take care of our hands we should use moisturizing creams to avoid dryness and burns.