Coronavirus: Second, third and fourth waves of COVID-19 likely, says WHO expert

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The coronavirus pandemic will likely return in waves in countries around the world, peaking several times before finally subsiding, one expert explained.

The scientific community has been warning of a potential “second wave” of coronavirus since early in the pandemic, with experts commenting that authorities need to be ready to combat the coronavirus again in the future.


“A second or third or fourth peak, hopefully not as high as any countries first peak, is probably something we are going to see in many countries, I hope not all countries,” said Dr. Hanan Balkhy, assistant director-general, antimicrobial resistance at the World Health Organization (WHO), on Tuesday.

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Balkhy explained that these continued peaks will likely occur due to public health infrastructure not being ready to develop a vaccine as quickly as it was for other pandemics.

“The platform for developing a vaccine for coronaviruses does not exist in the same way as it does for influenza,” she added.

The threat of additional waves of coronavirus will remain until widespread immunity to the coronavirus is feasible, a problem that is compounded by the difficulties in manufacturing and distributing a vaccine.

Populations will remain vulnerable to additional peaks of the virus, with scientists still unsure of how long immunity might last after infection or vaccine.

Balkhy was speaking at the Riyadh Global Digital Health Summit (RGDHS), a virtual forum that brought together global leaders in healthcare systems, public health, digital health, academic institutions and businesses to discuss the role of digital health technology in fighting the coronavirus and future pandemics.

The Ministry of National Guard’s Health Affairs Department and G20 Saudi Secretariat are organizing the two-day virtual summit in collaboration with the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships. The summit follows an Extraordinary Summit of the G20 earlier this year in March, during which members of the 20 most powerful countries in the world all expressed their commitment to fighting the coronavirus pandemic as a united front.

Saudi Arabia has been directly contributing to the fight around the world. In June, the UK expressed its gratitude to Saudi Arabia for the donation of thousands of pieces of medical equipment to the country’s National Health Service. The Kingdom has also donated $150 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GIVA), and $500 million to help international efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

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