Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield on Tuesday warned that coronavirus could strike in a second wave in the fall.
“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Redfield told the Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”
Redfield explained, “We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.”
A wave of coronavirus in flu season could put immense strain on the country’s health care system. However, Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, on Tuesday said she wasn’t sure that a second wave of coronavirus would be more serious than what the U.S. has already seen.
“I don’t know if it will be worse, I think this has been pretty bad,” Dr. Birx said at a White House press conference. “When you see what happened in New York, that was very bad….I believe that we’ll have early warning signals” in place to detect a second outbreak, Dr. Birx added.
Coronavirus has infected almost 260,000 people in New York State, with over 144,000 patients in New York City alone as of Wednesday.
The early symptoms of coronavirus and the flu can appear almost identical. Dr. Birx indicated that medical systems would need to develop testing procedures to separate flu and coronavirus patients, and Redfield urged federal and state officials to prepare for further outbreaks of coronavirus in the coming months.