(WEHT) — As we continue through the coronavirus pandemic, health experts have been talking about a possible second wave hitting the U.S. later this year.
Eyewitness News spoke to St. Louis physician Dr. Dan O’Brien about what we could expect.
Brandon Bartlett: Dr. O’Brien, thanks for joining us tonight. There’s been a lot of talk lately about a second wave of the corona virus later this year. Why is that? And what are the chances of that happening?
Dan O’Brien: You know, what we’ve seen with the flu and the cold, obviously, these things can kind of occur, you know, continue to occur because right now, we don’t know, you know, we have enough data to figure out exactly kind of what’s going on. And as we kind of look back at the data, we can certainly figure out that a second wave potentially could hit just just like we see with colds and flus.
Brandon Bartlett: What do you think that a second wave would look like? Could it be even worse than this first way that we’re going through right now?
Dan O’Brien: I think based on the data, it may not be as bad, that what our public health officials are doing is certainly crucial in regards to what they’ve done to prepare everybody. So I think what we’ve learned so far, and as much as we’ve learned from the data, I think this second virus is not going to be as bad.
Brandon Bartlett: Well, that’s good news. But with businesses starting to reopen now, if there is a second wave later, is there a chance that those businesses would have to close down again to stop the spread?
Dan O’Brien: Yes, that’s certainly a possibility. I think that’s why it’s so crucial that this is done the right way. And that really as we’re looking at data, as we’re collecting data that we’re on the right side of science, especially to be able to educate our public health officials on what to do next.
Brandon Bartlett: I want to ask you, what have we learned from this first wave that we could use if a second wave does hit later this year?
Dan O’Brien: Sure, just the importance of, you know, social distance. You know, how has this worked? How has quarantine worked what decisions need to be made as far as public health officials and even when looking at you know, medical supplies and mask and ventilators, how much we need that as we kind of prepare for the future?
Brandon Bartlett: Are there things that we can do right now to prepare for that second wave?
Dan O’Brien: Sure. I think from a clinician standpoint, keeping our immune system up, right, practicing social distancing, following the appropriate guidelines are some of the things that we can do to to keep ourselves safe and healthy.
Brandon Bartlett: Looking ahead how do you see the corona virus affecting us?
Dan O’Brien: Sure. Right now, we’re about 12 to 18 months away from a vaccine, because really what’s important is we have to be able to get to phase three trials, which kind of look at the safety and efficacy of a particular vaccine, including samples within a large population. So I think in the meantime, we have to be very cautious in regards to keeping with the guidelines of social distancing and, and wearing masks and being just kind of smart and how we approach interacting with society again,
Brandon Bartlett: And what is your opinion, do you think that we could actually see a vaccine by later this year?
Dan O’Brien: Yes, I think realistically within 12 to max 18 months, you know, we have great research and scientist here in this in this country. And I think they’re working very hard and not only in the diagnostic side, but also with with a vaccine, like you mentioned.
Brandon Bartlett: What about the healthcare industry? Do you think it is prepared for a second wave?
Dan O’Brien: Yes, I think we’ve learned so much in regards to this first wave when looking at medical supplies, ventilators, what all we need to be successful to do to overcome this and I think we’re going to be more prepared than ever.