In case you hadn’t noticed, it appears that the second wave of COVID-19 is upon us already.
Not only is it upon us, but it appears to be worse than the first wave. There are counties I can point to, where the number of new cases per day during the last week has been as much as seven times as high as it was at the peak of the first surge. If that’s not something to be concerned about, I’m not sure what is.
If we look back at when we all first became aware that the novel Coronavirus was sweeping the globe as a pandemic, medical experts were warning of the need to “flatten the curve.” Granted, that was based upon computer modeling which said that the disease was going to be much more devastating than it turned out to be. But that was the narrative back then and why so much of the country shut down.
Let me take an aside here for a second, in defense of the doctors who created those computer models. There are a few things we need to realize about them. Number one is that they were creating models based upon very little information; all they had to go with was information coming out of China, which has since been proven to be false. Number two is that the models were presented as “worst case” scenarios, which we never reached. And the number 3 is that a large part of the reason why we never reached that worst case was that our governments, at all levels, put measures into place to mitigate against that.
I remember saying back then that no matter how it turns out, there would be those saying that it was wrong. Some would say that the government did too much, while others would be saying that they did too little. Well, we have both, and in some cases, both coming from the same mouth.
Going back to the beginning, back when our medical experts started talking about flattening the curve, they also told us that there would be a second wave, once restrictions were lifted. But that was okay, they said because the hospitals wouldn’t become overwhelmed; flattening the curve would spread out the number of cases over a longer period of time, ensuring there would be enough hospital beds to treat all those who came down with the disease.
That narrative changed slightly, as the leading experts prognosticated that the second wave would be in the fall when flu season normally begins. We could all see the sense in that because we were accustomed to the flu dying down in the summertime and coming back in the fall.
This even played into the various states’ plans for opening back up. As state governors and their staffs developed plans, those who weren’t waiting for a vaccine to come out decided in June because the summer sun and heat made it an ideal time. Based upon historical evidence with other viruses, we could expect the incidents of new cases to wane in the summer, picking back up in the fall.
The reason for this summertime lul is twofold. First, the UV index is higher in the summertime, than it is any other time of the year. Since UV light is uniformly deadly to both bacteria and viruses, any viruses in the open would be easily killed, whether on our cars or on our clothes. Secondly, we tend to spend more time outdoors in the summertime, rather than cooped up in our houses, where the disease can easily spread from one person to the next.
There’s just one thing… the disease didn’t cooperate and things didn’t happen as we expected. Yes, the various state’s lockdowns did help to slow the spread of the virus, keeping out hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. That part worked extremely well. What didn’t work well is that the disease didn’t cooperate and remain idle during the heat and bright sun of the summertime, waiting for the fall to come back. We’ve got a surge in the disease now, long before we expected to.
So What Went Wrong?
While everybody is busy casting blame at their favorite political target for the rise in new cases, I find myself taking a different route. While I will have to say that none of those government officials did a perfect job, I also recognize that this is a case where there is no such thing as a perfect job. Therefore, I don’t lay blame at their feet. I don’t feel that’s fair.
About the only thing I blame the government for is the unclear and often confused messages that they are sending out. There was a great video satire a woman did, where she was taking a part of a news anchor, trying to clarify the situation. But everything she said contradicted itself. That’s the message we’ve received.
Probably the worst was the message about masks. At first, we were told not to wear masks, because it didn’t do any good. But that wasn’t the real message; it was “don’t wear masks, because we don’t have enough for medical personnel.” So in that case, they flat-out lied to us. Then, once they finally started telling us to wear masks, they kept vacillating on the message. I have heard the same officials telling us “don’t’ wear masks,” “wear masks,” “only use cloth masks” and “cloth masks don’t do any good.” Which message are we supposed to believe?
The result of all this is that the general population, many of who don’t trust our government officials to start with, not having any idea of what to do. So what have they done? In many cases, people have done absolutely nothing. They’ve gone about their lives, acting like everything is normal.
So, who’s at fault? We all are.
As I look around, I see a few people who are taking the pandemic seriously. Oh, I’m sure there are places in the country where they are taking it more seriously than they are in my city; but overall, we Americans aren’t taking it seriously. Most people are probably thinking some variant of, “Oh, it’s there, but it won’t get me.”
Then there’s the group who are thinking that now that lockdown orders have been lifted, everything is fine; the pandemic is over. They’ve gone back to their restaurants, bars, and night clubs as if nothing has happened. In doing so, they’re just helping the spread of the disease.
Even worse than that, there are those who are actively promoting the message that it was all a hoax; that we didn’t need to shut down; and that we don’t need to wear masks. While they are entitled to their opinion and even entitled to express it publically, they aren’t helping the situation.
Regardless of what anyone says, masks work. But they have to be the right kind of masks. Surgical masks aren’t what you need; you need cloth masks. And those cloth masks have to be thick enough to block out a strong light. If not, they won’t be thick enough to catch the droplet of virus-rich spittle that infected people are breathing and coughing out of their mouths.
The analogy of the mask that some people are using is like trying to catch it with a chain-link fence is a false one. We aren’t trying to catch individual virus particles, which would be almost impossible; we’re trying to catch aerosol droplets that contain those virus particles. That’s why cloth masks are important. The cloth absorbs the droplet, capturing the virus in the process.
The other false narrative that’s going around is how wearing a mask can make you sick. I suppose that’s true if you have lung problems already. It’s probably also a problem for those who are trying to wear a mask while jogging. But if doctors and nurses can wear them all day long, without a problem, I think the rest of us can too.
Those masks need to be worn whenever you are around anyone who you don’t know for sure is virus-free. But those masks also need to be cleaned. If you or I are wearing a mask and the mask does its job, catching those droplets, it is contaminated. Before being used again, it has to be decontaminated. So put it in the wash and wear another one. Have enough masks to wear a different one each day of the week, until you do the wash again.
Let me back that up with one number. Only 12,602 people in South Korea have come down with COVID-19. They were the first country to start wearing masks. Now, I realize they’re a much smaller country than we are, so let’s put that in perspective. That 12 thousand-odd people works out to just 0.025% of their population. By comparison, 0.76% of our population has come down with the disease, that’s 30 times as much, as a percentage of our population! Japan, which also started wearing masks early on, has had only 0.014% of their population infected, 1/54 of our percentage!
Get Ready for More
It is clear that COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon. Even with all the work that is being done to come up with a vaccine, there is little chance that one will be fielded anytime soon. The fastest our medical community has ever come up with, tested, produced, and released a new vaccine has been four years. Why would anyone expect that it will take less time with this one?
Knowing that this disease is going to be with us for a while, and also knowing that it is once again on the rise, we need to get ready. Now, before everyone else realizes that things are getting bad again, we need to beat the rush and renew our stocks of those items that we’ve used the last few months.
It has taken four months for the grocery stores to get some things back in stock, and there are still items that aren’t on the shelves. Have you tried looking for Clorox wipes lately? I haven’t seen them since January. Alcohol and disinfectants are still running out on a regular basis. Hand sanitizer seems to be pretty widely available, but you need to check it to be sure that it’s what you need. Not all hand sanitizers are created equal. Liquid antibacterial soap isn’t the same as a hand sanitizer and won’t work the same.
I don’t expect this second wave to stop till sometime next year if it even stops then. We’ll be heading into flu season soon; and once that happens, there’s no reason to think that COVID will stop spreading before spring rolls around again.
What this means is that this second wave is going to last a lot longer than the first one did. So, whatever you used in the way of personal protection equipment (PPE), you’d better make sure you have plenty of it. I would concentrate on things that are reusable, like fabric masks, rather than disposable N-95 masks. Of course, that can only be taken so far; you’re not better off with heavy rubber gloves than you are with disposable ones.
I’d figure on about four times whatever you’ve used in the last couple of months for starters. While that may not end up being enough; it should be enough to keep you going through the next wave of shortages. Later, when the stores catch up again, you can always get more.
Don’t forget to check your food stocks either. If you’ve ended up using any of that food to get through the last few months, you should restock now, while the stores are pretty much full. There’s no way of knowing if there will be another run on the grocery stores or if we’re going to see shortages caused by food processing plants shutting down. That’s already happened once, so there’s no reason to think that it won’t happen again.
Finally, don’t let your guard down. I see people all around me, who have quit taking the appropriate precautions; even amongst those who are concerned about the disease. They’ve become comfortable with living in a COVID-19 world, so they aren’t doing the things they were earlier, whether intentionally or for lack of focusing on the risk the disease causes for all of us. In doing so, they are increasing the chances of getting the disease, as well as passing it on to others.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be responsible for spreading the disease. I’ve already self-quarantined twice; the first time because I had what turned out to be the flu and the second time because a relative was potentially exposed to the disease. If that’s what I have to do, in order to protect others, then that’s a price I’m willing to pay. What about you?
Deborah | June 30, 2020
One reason is that the lockdown was opened too soon because some people weren’t happy with having to stay home and people without jobs were hurting for monies.
Another reason is some people didn’t take precautions because they didn’t think it could or would happen to them. I
I’m still staying home as much as possible, and wearing my mask and using hand sanitizers when out and washing my hand often at home. Sanitizing everything, too. I’ve even used my ha d sanitizer to sanitize my cart handle and my steering wheel. My opinion is you can’t be too careful.
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Ric | June 30, 2020
Fair points but the one thing missing is the financial side of things. Some people were hit pretty hard and won’t be able to restock or even stock up on food, bleach etc. while trying to get their finances back in order. Not saying they can’t do both at once but often like you pointed out, people think things are back to normal and people often focus on the here and now, not a year from now.
I remember running into a girl I dated at Walmart stocking up so she said, she had nothing but junk food, soda, pizza etc. You can see why her and I only used to date and didn’t last.
I have read other articles about stocking toilet paper. Maybe now get a bidet for your toilet, might save money on paper. I also got a box of toilet paper tablets. They are pretty amazing and will be used for camping and added to BOBs.
My hope is this settles down. For me personally it has been a crazy year, unexpected family coming back into my life, job and location changes etc. I just hope things settle down or in some ways don’t and we get the changes this country needs. I don’t mean voting in new people but real changes.
Frank | June 30, 2020
Hi Bill…love your articles. Unfortunately, we are still in the first wave of COVID-19. To avoid what we are seeing now in the USA the bending of the curve had to significantly reduce the number of new infections on a daily and weekly basis. This never happened before many states opened up again causing a flare-up in new cases. People went back to business as usual too fast. A second wave will occur based on two major factors; change in season and a significant mutation to the virus. This hasn’t occurred yet and I’m afraid that the second wave is going to be much worse than this current wave. Sadly, the majority of people that have recovered from the first wave are not immune to the virus in the second wave.
Stephen Houx | June 30, 2020
It occurs to me the ongoing protests are also contributing to the increase in the number of cases. I see no mention of that.
Bob L. | June 30, 2020
No, no second wave. What’s happening is the greatly increased testing is confirming the virus has been far more widespread than realized. The hospitalizations are mostly illegal immigrants, yes they are still coming, who come across the border sick and the Border Patrol is having to transport a bunch further in from the border communities hospitals, thus making the situation look worse than it actually is. .In the mean time the numbers continue to be manipulated and the fear mongering also continues. Overall, deaths are way down.
Dr. Fraud must be so excited he may wet himself since there is a mutated virus showing up in pigs in Red China he says could mutate further and become another Swine Flu among humans.
Dale | June 30, 2020
My advice to everyone is to do some REALLY serious prepping ASAP. Buy anything and everything you can afford. Dip into your savings if you have to. This may or may not, be the second wave. When flu season arrives, it’s very possible that we may face something like the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Estimates run as high as 80 million deaths from that pandemic, and that was when the world had a much smaller population than it does, now, and people were more spread-out.. I read an article, just this morning, that a new swine flu strain has been discovered in China and has already jumped from hogs to humans. No one knows how bad it may turn out to be. My guess is that anyone who catches Covid-19 and then, gets the flu on top of that is dead meat. I think the worst is yet to come.
Ric | June 30, 2020
I think we have both commented on other threads but I agree things are going to get ugly. In Wisconsin, every Walmart I go into for example people don’t even pay attention t the one way shopping signs so social distancing is out the window in general.
In general most people I know, even extended family have nothing prepared and worse are upset with summer events being canceled.. The preppers I know personally make a small number of people I know so my guess is most people are not even remotely prepared for anything serious.
I do agree testing is finding more people than before, My theory is like the Walking Dead, we all have it. Well maybe not everyone but more than people realize.
Trish | June 30, 2020
I am NOT going to be popular, cut…. here goes.
I know this virus is real, but the science behind all of the testing is questionable. All of a sudden, since we OPENED, we have MORE “cases” after MORE TESTING! Mayo tested some of the testing kits and about 1/2 of them were worthless. So WHICH testing kits are being used? The ones that are MORE accurate or the cheap ones that will show up as positive even if you don’t have it!
WHERE is all of this testing with the flu?
WHERE was all of this testing in 2003 when SARS -COV-1 was going around?
WHERE was all of the panic and hysteria with the media and the “experts” with SARS in 2003?
WHERE is the vaccine for THAT ONE?? There SHOULD have been a vaccine for that one, and if there HAD BEEN a vaccine for SARS-COV-1, it would not have taken long to tweak it to take care of SARS-COV-2 now.
The “cures” for this are way more expensive for the citizens of the USA than they are for the rest of the world. About $2400 per treatment for us here in the USA compared to about $66 for people in India!
IF being quarantined ACTUALLY WORKED….. people going out NOW will be getting it anyway until there is “herd immunity” achieved.
Too many things that were NOT done and too many things that were done WRONG.
Grammyprepper | June 30, 2020
I am all the way with @Trish.
i am a retired nurse. I know a lot more about inectious disease and control than the average person. Personal opinion, masks give folks a false sense of security. You’ve seen them in the store, taking their masks down as they converse with either another customer or the clerk they are dealing with. While they have been touching products, and touching their madk to readgust it.
I live in a state that did lock down, and we did ‘flatten the curve’. but in hindsight our state did some things wrong, as did most of the country.
Now all of a sudden, young folks are getting sick.Because we went on lock down, rather than letting the virus work its way thru.
Loxkdown should never have happened. At risk populations should have been protected. The general populace should have been able to continue on, this would have helped to build herd imminuity.
I do not think this virus is a hoax. I am sorry for the families who have lost folks to it.
The hoax is how the world responded to this. And how the citizens just accepted what their various governments ‘decreed’.
Prospector | July 1, 2020
I agree with Trish and NOT with Bill. Masks should only be worn by people who are infected to help prevent the spread of this virus. I believe that COVID19 is a real virus that has been used as a biological weapon against the citizens of the US and elsewhere and was CREATED in China! It’s not a coincidence that this virus just happened to emerge in an election year when the economy of the US was at it’s peak and unemployment was at record lows across the board. This was an opportunity for the Radical Far Left Progressives in this country to do everything possible to promote this virus to increase the numbers of cases of infections and deaths in order to create panic and fear, not only here but in other countries as well.. Have you noticed that the states and cities that have been impacted the most by this virus all have Liberal leadership? The end game for them is to use all of the negative statistics created by Covid to manipulate the election in November in order for them to regain control of our government.
Ric | July 1, 2020
You still believe in the 2 party system where one party has the people’s best interest as well as the county’s best interest at heart and the other is evil and only wants control and toe enslave the people? You honestly think that our country that has for the most part only had 2 parties to choose from, isn’t run or at least influenced by outside forces?
Consider Obama, I don’t care your views of the man but consider he some how got the funding to get elected. Trump had his own funding and could have ran as a strong 3rd party but choose to align himself with the Republicans. He could has just as easily told the people we have only had one of 2 parties for the entire time America has existed and look where we are. His message could have been I don’t represent the parties but the people and not be connected to any party but that is not how the system works.
We the people as a whole keep falling for the same BS every 4 years.
Dale | July 1, 2020
Most everyone is ignoring the science of the Covid-19 coronavirus. This thing is something that we’ve never seen, before. Everyone thought that the young, and people who were asymptomatic (did not get sick) were not being harmed. FALSE! The latest research has shown that people who tested positive for the antibodies, but never had any symptoms, WERE being harmed. Scans of their lungs show scar tissue and their hearts have been damaged. So, all of those kids who were partying hearty because they thought this thing was only killing old people were just kidding themselves. The virus fuc*ed them up, too, but they didn’t know it. Secondly, the scientists don’t know if the antibodies to this virus convey immunity, like other viruses. Four sailors on the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier who contracted Covid-19, recovered. They tested negative in two consecutive tests following their recovery and were returned to duty. THEN, THEY CAME DOWN WITH COVID-19 AGAIN! So, people who think they are safe because they’ve already had the virus may be kidding themselves, too. They may be able to catch it again. Also, that means that, even if they develop a vaccine, it may not be effective. Vaccines cause your immune system to produce antibodies to a disease, but if the Covid-19 antibodies don’t provide any immunity, the vaccines will prove useless. There is no government conspiracy to take away our freedoms or control the outcome of the election by using Covid-19! Anyone who believes that is spending too much time reading those dumb-ass conspiracy theory websites. Read the news! Read the scientific research! Forget the conspiracy-theory BS! And, scientific research has already proven that the virus arose naturally. China did NOT invent it to use as a weapon against us! They were the first ones to suffer from the disease! What kind of idiots would start killing their own people if they really wanted to hurt the U.S.?! Get real! If there IS any government conspiracy, it is to keep us in ignorance of how bad this thing may eventually get. If they told people that millions of Americans may die and billions of people, worldwide, may be killed, people would freak out and panic. So they lie and tell us that they’ll come up with a vaccine by the end of the year. That may be the REAL conspiracy. They’re just trying to keep the world from falling apart if people start panicking.
Susan M Myers | July 27, 2020
Protests and riots are a part of the increase. Honestly, I can’t believe the numbers. Too many auto accidents and gunshots are listed as covid virus deaths. Most cases, 99.8, are very mild but tested positive. I see a fear and control factor being used by both media and politicians.