The words "second wave" are a 2020 nightmare. While things are starting to reopen around B.C., officials are saying that we're not out of the woods just yet. On Thursday, May 21, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s Chief Medical Officer, told the public that a second wave of COVID-19 is "very likely" to strike in the fall.
Dr. Henry reminded us that the disease hasn't left and that it very much still exists in British Columbia. That's why the province is acting so cautiously and thoughtfully, she said.
"Even if we're able to control it well during the summer, chances are that just the climactic conditions will naturally allow it to increase in prevalence during the fall," she said.
Henry said that she doesn't hope for this happen, but just based on historical data, a second wave does normally happen in pandemics.
"Sometimes we've seen a bigger wave in the second wave, sometimes it's been smaller," she said.
All in all, there is no way to know what it's going to look like in the fall, she said.
Dr. Henry referenced the 1918 influenza pandemic, which slowed in the summer but hit again in the fall.
B.C.'s health minister, Adrian Dix, also weighed in on the possibility of a second wave.
The minister was talking about scheduled surgeries that have been booked as part of B.C.'s reopening plan. Then he brought up the second wave when talking about the progress of these surgeries.
"A second wave of COVID-19 is very likely given the history of pandemics," he said.
So even though non-urgent surgeries are going ahead right now, a lot is riding on the health care system and how it could respond to the ongoing pandemic.
Keeping surgeries going will depend on "future events, such as the resurgence of COVID-19 and potential for a second wave," said Dix.
B.C. formally moved into phase 2 of its relaunch plan on May 19. This move saw restaurants and retailers being allowed to open their doors again.
Although the province has flattened the COVID-19 curve, health officials are telling us that we need to keep following the rules.