Today we connect with two experts from around the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic is spiking in the United States with the next two weeks expected to record the highest number of deaths so far.
Meanwhile in South Korea, China and Italy, the numbers have been on a downward trend, after the countries see, to have overcome their peaks and flattened the curve.
Does this gradual decline mean the crisis is coming to an end?
Some scientists are talking about a second wave of infections.
To break down the issue, we have joining us today, Dr. Stanley Perlman, Professor at the University of Iowa, who has been studying coronaviruses like COVID-19 for the last 38 years.
We also have Dr. Benjamin Cowling from Hong Kong University, who is heading the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
Dr. Perlman: Over the weekend, the U.S. reported its highest number of daily deaths while the number of infection cases topped 300,000. But President Trump says the next two weeks will be the toughest period for America. Do you share this view (and why?)?
Dr Cowling: In China’s Hubei Province - where the coronavirus first emerged - COVID-19 cases have dropped to practically zero (if you believe the data out of China), and a couple of weeks ago, the authorities lifted travel restrictions in and out of the province, some 60 days after much of it was locked down. Is this a sign that it might be possible that such protracted restrictions won’t be necessary?
Dr. Perlman: In South Korea and China, where official numbers, at least, seem to show they've flattened the curve in COVID-19 infections, but the government and people are now bracing for a possible second wave. How likely is it thaty there will a second or even third wave?
Dr. Cowling: Same question for you, Dr. Cowling. What would a second wave look like and when would it likely happen? Can we stop it from happening?
Dr. Perlman: If there is a second wave, does this mean people who suffered COVID-19 will have developed immunity? And will current vaccines being developed work?
Dr. Cowling: There's a third possible transmission route, according to scientists in Japan. They're saying "transmissions are happening during conversations even when a few meters apart" as microdroplets one-twentieth the width of a human hair can linger in the air and spread throughout the room. If they're right then does this mean current social distancing measures aren't enough?
You recently did a study with 3,000 people on the efficacy of face masks. Is this the way to go?//
HOw can we stop a third wave from happening
Dr. Perlman: Finally, many people are getting frustrated and tired of the uncertainty of how long this outbreak will last and have been questioning how long we need to live in isolation. Do you think the focus of public discourse should be on public health response, not the question of when restrictions can be lifted?
That's all we have time for today. Thank you Dr. Stanley Perlman and Dr. Ben Cowling from Iowa and Hong Kong.