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The novel Coronavirus spread through the air new study shows. Photo: Pixabay
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Senior European WHO official predicts second deadly virus wave

According to information from a British daily, a senior European official of the WHO predicts that a second peak of the virus outbreak could coincide with outbreaks of other infectious diseases.

Published: May 19, 2020, 11:06 am

    The hypothesis of a second Covid-19 wave has recently fuelled many debates. Some scientists, like Prof Didier Raoult, refute this hypothesis, while other researchers believe a second wave will be coming in the next months.

    As The Telegraph revealed on May 17, Dr. Hans Kluge, director of the WHO European region, issued a stern warning to countries that are beginning to relax their containment restrictions, saying it is now “preparation time, not celebration”.

    The WHO official also pointed out that, as the number of Covid-19 cases in countries like the United Kingdom, France and Italy was starting to decrease, that did not mean that the pandemic was coming to an end.

    “I am very concerned about a second wave. In the fall we may have a second wave of Covid and another wave of seasonal flu or measles. Two years ago, 500 000 children had not received their first measles vaccine,” he said.

    Many experts, including England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, have warned that a second wave of the pandemic could be even more deadly than the first, citing the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-2020.

    When the Spanish flu first appeared in March 1918, it had the characteristics of a typical seasonal illness – but then returned in an even more virulent and deadly form in the fall, ultimately killing around 50 million people.

    Tests have meanwhile revealed that wearing a protective mask drastically reduces the spread of the Coronavirus.

    On Sunday May 17, experts from the University of Hong Kong announced that the use of the mask significantly reduces the spread of Covid-19. This study is all the more valuable because it was led by Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, a recognized expert on Coronaviruses.

    For their experiment, the researchers placed cages containing hamsters previously infected close to those of healthy rodents. Surgical masks were placed between the two cages, with an air flow from the cage of sick animals to that of healthy animals. And the results were edifying.

    The study shows that the transmission of the virus was reduced by more than 60 percent when the masks were in place. Two-thirds of healthy hamsters were infected within a week when the masks were not in place while the infection rate fell to just over 15 percent when the masks were placed on the cage of infected animals and 35 percent when placed on the cage of healthy hamsters.

    “It is very clear that using masks on infected subjects […] is more important than anything else,” said Professor Kwok-yung. “We now know that a large part of those infected do not show symptoms, so the universal wearing of the mask is really important,” he added.

    Renowned microbiologist, Yuen Kwok-yung discovered the SARS virus when it first appeared in 2003, killing some 300 people in Hong Kong. The region has also resisted the Coronavirus very well, thanks to the massive use of masks and testing and tracing campaigns. Out of 7,5 million inhabitants living in close proximity, Hong Kong has managed to limit the number of cases to 1 000 and has only deplored four deaths.

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    • pcl

      How does a layer of masks between two cages even come close to real world conditions? When in use for a whole day, the masks get soaked with spit and are often so far to the side that they leak profusely. When is use, masks also force people to breath back in some of the viruses and even more of the bacteria and fungus (for which they are breeding grounds) that they exhale. Reasonable distances and better room ventilation should be used to make masks un-necessary.

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