'Very fierce' COVID-19 second wave to come in colder months, warns Taiwanese health expert

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 28 2020 09:32 AM | Updated as of Apr 28 2020 09:39 AM

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MANILA - A "very fierce" second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic will come during colder weather when people are more susceptible to respiratory infections, a Taiwanese infectious disease specialist said Tuesday.

The southern hemisphere of the globe is currently experiencing the height of the pandemic while it is slowing down in the northern hemisphere due to warmer temperature, said Dr. Mei-Shang Ho, president of the Taiwan Health Corporation.

"But the second wave will come. How soon it’s hard for me to say. Definitely in the fall or winter, one would experience a very fierce second wave," she told ANC.

She noted that while there are not as many cases of COVID-19 in the summer, "the virus probably doesn’t go away."

"It might silently transmit among mild, asymptomatic cases in such a way that where it might seed in the community is unknown," she added.

Taiwan, which has been deemed as a "success story" in battling the pandemic, implements isolation, identification of infection source, physical distancing and practice of good personal hygiene to combat the virus, according to Ho.

"These are very basic (measures) that we continue to follow," she said.

Ho, meantime, said a vaccine for the new strain of virus might become available next year.

"For popular use, probably next year, with the massive effort and resources pouring in globally. Probably next year with reasonable amount for use. That’s a very optimistic view, assuming everything goes well," she said.

It would be better for Taiwan, which has so far reported 426 cases of coronavirus and 6 deaths, to join the World Health Organization, Ho said.

"Personally, I sort of look at it in a humble way. We just won the first battle. We still have a long way to go. It’s better that we are with the whole pack, we are freely communicating with others," she said.