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This is the only way to prevent a coronavirus second wave

Published Jun 29th, 2020 8:56AM EDT
Coronavirus Second Wave
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  • Many experts believe that a coronavirus second wave is inevitable, but a new study suggests that there’s one way to prevent another major wave of COVID-19 infections.
  • Despite resistance from certain people who insist this is a matter of freedom rather than safety, simply wearing face masks anytime people leave their homes could completely prevent a second wave.
  • The study says that wearing face masks like these and practicing social distancing could stop coronavirus second wave even as lockdown restrictions ease and nonessential businesses reopen.

At this point, it seems inevitable that there will be a massive second wave of coronavirus infections in many regions across the United States. Many experts have said so, but you don’t have to be an expert to come to that conclusion. A quick glance at the news and a few scrolls through your timeline in any social media app is all it takes to see that far too many people are experiencing coronavirus lockdown fatigue. It’s been a long few months and many people out there simply can’t cope with quarantining or being overly cautious anymore. And the timing is obviously problematic because many states are reopening their economies now.

There is nothing wrong with reopening businesses. In fact, some might argue that some regions are reopening too slowly. The problem, however, is that everyone needs to act responsibly in order to avoid spikes in COVID-19 cases as economies reopen. We all saw what happened when Trump and his administration downplayed the severity of the novel coronavirus. Infection rates skyrocketed and the healthcare systems in many regions became overwhelmed. Everyone needs to realize that nothing has changed and if we’re not careful, the coronavirus second wave could be as bad as the first. Just look at what’s happening right now in states like California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida.

Sadly, there’s really only one simple thing we need to do in order to prevent a bad second wave, and now a recent study has confirmed it.

Have you seen the viral video of a Las Vegas casino shortly after Vegas reopened? If you somehow missed it, here you go:

How can people possibly be this stupid, you ask? Well, the answer isn’t quite that simple. Some people are just plain stupid, sure. Others aren’t convinced that coronavirus is as serious as experts claim it is. And some people are just so sick and tired of lockdowns and restrictions that they’re throwing caution to the wind. The problem is that all three groups are equally dangerous, and we can see that by looking at the skyrocketing coronavirus infection rates in California, Florida, Texas, and elsewhere.

Businesses can and should reopen. Even casinos. But there absolutely must be strict safety guidelines in place and people must follow them. In fact, a new study says that all we need to do in order to avoid a severe second wave of COVID-19 infections is to wear face masks and keep some distance in between us.

Scientists at Cambridge and Greenwich Universities in Britain released the results of a study this week that suggests wearing face masks can dramatically reduce the risk of another wave of coronavirus infections. If enough people wear face masks, the rate of COVID-19 transmission would plummet drastically and would stay at controllable levels rather than overwhelming healthcare systems.

“Our analyses support the immediate and universal adoption of face masks by the public,” said Dr. Richard Stutt, one of the leaders of the study at Cambridge. From Reuters’ coverage of the research:

In this study, researchers linked the dynamics of spread between people with population-level models to assess the effect on the disease’s reproduction rate, or R value, of different scenarios of mask adoption combined with periods of lockdown.

The R value measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth.

The study found that if people wear masks whenever they are in public it is twice as effective at reducing the R value than if masks are only worn after symptoms appear.

In all scenarios the study looked at, routine face mask use by 50% or more of the population reduced COVID-19 spread to an R of less than 1.0, flattening future disease waves and allowing for less stringent lockdowns.

The study’s findings were published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A. It’s certainly not the first published study to reach these conclusions. Several other studies have said the same thing — wearing face masks in public and practicing social distancing can have a dramatic impact on the rate of COVID-19 transmission.

The problem, of course, is that this only works if the majority of people are on board. If not, all responsible people can do is be extra cautious and hope that other people’s carelessness doesn’t overwhelm the healthcare system. Again. People don’t have to go overboard, though one study says people should actually wear face masks while having sex. Just wear a face mask like these masks anytime you’re not in your home, and stay as far away from other people as you can while you’re out.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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