CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: experts warn second wave could be "more dangerous"

Leading Covid-19 experts in Germany have said it is still too early to relax lockdown protocols, stating that "we are at the beginning of this pandemic."

Coronavirus: experts warn second wave could be "more dangerous"
WOLFGANG RATTAY REUTERS

Europe is preparing for a gradual de-escalation of lockdown measures put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus with several countries including Italy, Germany, Spain and France putting plans in place to lift quarantine protocols in various stages, dependant on a continued decrease in the number of new cases reported. However, a group of virologists in Germany has warned that it may still be too early to safely ease lockdown measures and that a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic could prove to be more dangerous than the initial outbreak. 

"We are still at the beginning of this pandemic; that is something that a lot of people have forgotten," Melanie Brinkmann of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research told Der Spiegel. Prof. Brinkmann also stated that the German government's plans for de-escalation could have serious consequences as it may lead to a false sense of security among citizens, resulting in "more physical contact" as people may cease to "treat the coronavirus seriously." 

Experts warn against relaxation of lockdown

Christian Drosten, the head of virology at the Charité-Berlin University of Medicine and one of Germany's leading authorities on Covid-19, concurred: "The thesis exists that the reduction in physical contact was not necessary," he told Suddeutsche Zeitung, adding that a potential second wave due to relaxing social distancing protocols could be more dangerous than the current outbreak. 

Drosten also criticized those that are pushing for a reopening of the economy by stating that social distancing measures have been exaggerated: "The success [in stemming the spread of Covid-19] has been used as an instrument to suggest that nothing that was done was necessary. That has helped certain political forces who have said that now is the time to give the economy a chance. Conversely, a relaxation now could lead to further economic damage given that it would probably lead to even stricter measures being brought in."