Coronavirus illustration

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The director of the Centers for Disease Control is sounding the alarm about the possibility for a second wave of COVID-19 in the winter, and the timing couldn't be worse.

Doctors, nurses and first responders are in the fight of their lives right now.

While we are all hoping for the pandemic to be over by Christmas time, local health officials are heeding warnings from the CDC that winter may be the beginning of a second wave of the coronavirus.

Following concerns from the head of the CDC, Dr. Erika Hamilton, University of Massachusetts microbiologist, explained why a possible second wave of the coronavirus could come in early winter -- much before the spring peak the state is currently experiencing in this initial wave.

“When people go inside, there’s more close contact with each other, and it’s easier to spread diseases like this,” Hamilton said.

She told Western Mass News that a second wave of COVID-19 isn’t set in stone, it’s not impossible.

“With other infectious diseases of this type, it has been known to occur,” she said.

Judith Pare is the director of nursing with the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and said state numbers show this year’s flu hospitalizations peaked in February before the coronavirus.

“It is not surprising that the head of the CDC came out and predicted a second wave the added concern is this likely to be at the height of the regular influenza season,"

Pare said concurrent outbreaks could mean trying to distinguish between two similar sets of symptoms.

“The challenge is going to be, if in fact this happens, patients that present to emergency rooms being properly screened as either having the traditional influenza or COVID-19,” Pare said.

In preparing local healthcare workers for another wave COVID-19, Pare said she is making counseling and mental health resources available for those still busy with the current battle.

“I think the fatigue and the grief in the horrors of what they’ve seen hasn’t hit a lot of people. I thought I saw it all with the marathon bombing and 9/11, but I have never seen the grief of the loss and the number of deaths as I have during this pandemic,” Pare said.

The hope is that by the time there's a second wave -- if there is one -- the public will be more prepared to fight the coronavirus.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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