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Epidemiologist: California COVID-19 Cases Have 'Potential To Be Worse' In Fall, Winter

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- After Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday warned California residents to remain vigilant about the risk of COVID-19, local health experts are saying that a second wave of the virus is entirely possible as fall and winter approach.


"The fall and winter have the potential to be worse than the summer," said Andrew Noymer, UC Irvine Associate Professor of Public Health. "Respiratory spread viruses are all winter dominant seasonal diseases, so I fully expect COVID-19 to be no different."

On Monday, Newsom said that while the state appears to be moving in the right direction, things could make a turn for the worse again at any moment. Other states across the country have begun to experience a worrisome rise in cases.

"I don't expect the second waves to be all in sync, because the first waves weren't all in sync, but it doesn't mean that California is out of the woods, and it doesn't mean we shouldn't prepare ourselves for a second wave," Noymer said.

He added that he expects waves in different parts of the country, starting in mid-October and getting worse into winter, especially after the election.

"The various factors that happen in the winter time — K through 12 education, humidity conditions in the atmosphere...forming a line to access the polling place means people will be in close proximity," he said.

Noymer said a second wave doesn't mean people have done anything wrong, though. He said he believes it's just the nature and pattern of infectious diseases, like the flu.

"We have experience with flu from past winters and we also have the flu vaccine," he said. "But there's no vaccine for coronavirus yet, and until there's a vaccine, we should expect more waves."

Local health officials reiterate that everyone can help reduce transmission of the virus by not only wearing face coverings and social distancing, but also by self-isolating for 14 days if exposed, regardless of a negative COVID-19 test.


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