Why a second outbreak of Coronavirus could be worse than the first


AS THE Government announces plans to ease the lockdown, there still exists fears of a second wave of Coronavirus.


Through the work of our NHS and nation uniting to stay at home, we have seen new cases of Coronavirus decrease. Our government now leads us into the next stages of easing the lockdown and has introduced five tests.


These include: whether there will be sufficient critical care and specialist treatment throughout the UK, if there is a consistent fall in daily deaths, if the rate of infection is falling to a manageable level, whether PPE and testing resources will be able to meet future demand, and if there is confidence that there is no risk of a second outbreak.


Comparing the first two weeks of April and May, the numbers for new deaths in the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, have significantly decreased. Demonstrated by this graph:

Deaths in the PAH for first 2 weeks of April and May

The graph demonstrates a significant drop in deaths for the first two weeks of May, when compared to April. The peak of April was 16 deaths on April 7, whereas the deaths for May have stayed consistently at the same level, never peaking past three deaths in a day.


This shows that with lockdown measures and the work of our NHS, daily deaths in PAH are significantly decreased. This would be a good indicator for testing whether the lockdown should be eased, as the PAH has seen a consistent fall in death rates.


However, a second wave of COVID-19 could be worse than the initial breakout. Comparing the initial breakout and the second wave of other pandemics like the 1918 Spanish flu, explains why many worry about the possibility of a second outbreak.


The 1918 pandemic of influenza, known as “The Spanish Flu” infected around 500 million people and killed 50,000,000. The disease overwhelmed hospitals and healthcare globally, lasting from Spring 1918 to summer 1919.


Whilst exact statistics weren’t closely documented during the pandemic, it is universally understood that out of all four waves – the second wave was the deadliest.


Despite the history of second outbreaks being deadlier than initial outbreaks, as a nation we have made serious efforts to decrease the amount of new cases and deaths. By flattening the curve, our NHS hasn’t been overwhelmed. If we continue to protect our NHS and follow the COVID-19 measures, the risk of a second outbreak will be decreased.


According this graph, from the Department of Health, with our action over the last few months – we have easily avoided the worst possible outcome:

Graph of COVID 19 curve

Boris Johnson in an address to the nation said: “Thanks to you, we have protected our NHS and saved many thousands of lives. And so, you know that it would be madness now to throw away that achievement by allowing a second spike.


“We must stay alert. We must continue to control the virus and save lives.”

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Matthew Collings

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