Expect COVID-19 cases to surge as winter approaches, experts warn

Experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are sounding the alarm over a coming surge in COVID-19 cases as colder weather sets in and makes it more likely that people will gather indoors, where transmission of the virus occurs more easily.

In an October 12, 2020, New York magazine article, Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology and a faculty member in the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (CCDD), discussed the seasonality of COVID-19 and said it is very likely that the number of new cases this winter will exceed the number of cases the U.S. experienced during the spring peak. “I think many of the parts of the country that aren’t necessarily taking it quite so seriously run a real risk, a very high likelihood, of having substantially more cases,” he said. The article also mentioned Caroline Buckee, associate professor of epidemiology and associate director of the CCDD, who has likened winter to “dark clouds on the horizon.”

Mina was also quoted in an October 10, 2020 WBUR article discussing how cases are likely to surge in Massachusetts and urging people to continue wearing masks and social distancing.

Thomas Tsai, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, said in an October 15, 2020 Yahoo Finance article, that the country should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. “We’re still in the early days for the second wave but the numbers are very concerning and definitely heading the wrong direction,” he said.

An October 14, 2020 Boston Globe article that focused on the steady uptick of cases in Massachusetts quoted Stephen Kissler, a research fellow in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. Kissler said that other coronaviruses peak “pretty reliably in December or January” in the Northern Hemisphere and that he expects COVID-19 to follow a similar pattern.

Read the New York magazine article: The Third Wave of the Pandemic Is Here

Read the WBUR article: Health Experts Say Mass. Is In ‘A COVID Autumn,’ And We’re Not Ready For Winter

Read the Yahoo Finance article: Coronavirus second wave looms: ‘Hope for the best but prepare for the worst’

Read the Boston Globe article: Harvard expert says coronavirus surge could arrive in November