WHO says COVID-19 pandemic is “one big wave”, not seasonal

The COVID-19 pandemic is currently unfolding in “one big wave” with no evidence that it follows seasonal variations common to influenza and other coronaviruses, such as the common cold, the World Health Organization has warned.

“People are still thinking about seasons. What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and this one is behaving differently,” Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson told a virtual briefing in Geneva, urging vigilance in applying measures to slow transmission that appears to be accelerated by mass gatherings.

Numerous public health officials warned early in the pandemic that even if infection rates flagged, a second wave was likely in the fall.

She also warned against thinking in terms of virus waves, saying: “It’s going to be one big wave. It’s going to go up and down a bit. The best thing is to flatten it and turn it into just something lapping at your feet.”

Nearly 16.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus. Some 9.7 million patients have recovered, and more than 659,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.