What is the risk of a second coronavirus wave?
Face coverings are mandatory for most public transportation in England. (Getty Images)
The outbreak of the corona virus has blocked Britain since March 23. However, restrictions are gradually loosening due to falling deaths.
Groups of no more than six people from different households are allowed to chat outside, while the British can also train outdoors indefinitely.
Some elementary school children are back in the classroom months after the last bell rang on March 20.
Boris Johnson is expected to announce on June 23 whether pubs and restaurants can reopen on July 4, albeit with social disengagement.
Although all positive progress has been made, many cannot help but be concerned that this relaxation will inevitably lead to a dreaded second wave of infections.
Early research suggests that in four out of five cases, coronavirus is mild but can trigger a respiratory disease called COVID-19.
People hug at Barcelona el Prat airport. (Getty Images)
What is a second wave?
Coronavirus deaths are believed to have peaked in England on April 8 when around 800 people died in hospital from the infection.
While the number of deaths has declined since then, the number of infections can increase again.
An infectious wave has no defined definition.
It is generally seen as an increase in cases followed by a decrease that can occur several times before an effective vaccine is introduced.
The start of a second wave is usually said to take place after an initial outbreak has been brought under control, rather than the two bleeding into each other.
New Zealand is not believed to be in a second wave after a handful of cases occurred after 24 days without new infections.
Beijing is also said not to be in a second wave after the patients tested positive after 50 "virus-free" days.
"The outbreak in Beijing reminds us that despite the first wave of COVID-19 in the UK, we are still in the early stages of the pandemic," said Dr. Tom Wingfield from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
However, Professor Keith Neal of the University of Nottingham said Beijing's cluster was “not a second wave, but a localized outbreak.
"However, it depends on how you define a second wave," he added.
What is the risk of a second wave in the UK?
The UK coronavirus alert was lowered from four to five on June 19.
"We are likely to enter a new phase in this outbreak," said Professor Matt Keeling of the University of Warwick.
"Cases will continue to decline nationally and regionally, but there will be isolated cases locally that need to be curbed."
A level three alarm means that the coronavirus is in circulation but low enough to gradually loosen the restrictions.
"The transition to level three is not a time of complacency. There is still a chance of a second wave if the controls are loosened too quickly and the number of reproductions (R) rises above one," said Professor Keeling.
The R is the number of people who statistically infect a patient. If more than one, an outbreak grows; if one, the eruption plateaus; and if less than one, the outbreak dies out.
It is believed that only about 5% of the British caught the coronavirus in its first and persistent wave, which is insufficient for herd immunity.
It is also unclear how long the immunity will last, but it is expected to be at least short or medium term.
A second wave could be triggered if the lock is released too quickly. Government officials have repeatedly stressed that they are unwilling to take risks.
While closing pubs, closing borders and cutting off social contacts will undoubtedly bring the cases to a standstill, the impact on the economy and people's mental health should not be underestimated.
Still, Dr. Mike Tildseley of the University of Warwick of the BBC, if the measures are lifted too quickly, a second wave could already occur in August.
The officials want to reconcile a return to "normalcy" with a further defense against infections.
This can be done by enforcing social distancing once the hospitality sector gets going and by trying to make facewear compulsory for public transport in England.
Provided that new cases are quickly identified and isolated, localized outbreaks do not have to lead to a second wave.
A teacher gives lessons in a mask in Strasbourg, France. (Getty Images)
Would a second wave be better or worse than the first?
As the northern hemisphere approaches winter, the situation could worsen if the NHS struggles with both the coronavirus and seasonal flu.
Although unclear, the flu is believed to peak in the colder months as people curl up indoors. There is also evidence that the norovirus (winter vomiting) is more easily broken down by UV light.
Professor Jonathan Ball of the University of Nottingham told the BBC that a second wave was “almost inevitable, especially as we approach the winter months.
"The challenge for the government is to make sure that the climax is not so strong that the health system is overloaded," he added.
It has also been suggested that the constantly evolving corona virus could mutate and become less dangerous.
Pathogens that generally do not make patients bedridden are considered "more successful". This is because most feel good enough to be on the go and accidentally spread the infection.
There is no guarantee that milder mutations will occur. Such genetic changes generally accumulate over a longer period than the six months in which the coronavirus is believed to have occurred.
The pathogen is also highly infectious with an assumed natural R number of three. This means that each patient is statistically expected to pass the infection on to three others, unless preventive measures are taken.
This high portability means that there is no "incentive" for the coronavirus to mutate to become milder.
However, other factors suggest that a second wave is less severe.
Lessons have been learned from the unprecedented outbreak, which was not identified until late 2019.
The importance of social distancing and regular hand washing became clear in many cases.
The NHS test, trace and isolate system is also in operation to identify patients early.
"The system depends on broad public support," said Professor James Naismith of the Rosalind Franklin Institute.
"A robust system is one and only one component that is required to avoid a second wave."
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