The Meaning of a COVID-19 Second Wave

pexels-emiliano-arano-1295138
Photo by Emiliano Arano from Pexels

I’ve been hearing the term “second wave” being used more and more frequently in connection with the COVID-19 crisis. For instance, in this article [1] about Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong facing a second wave of coronavirus cases from citizens returning from overseas. This seems faulty logic to me: it isn’t a second wave, it’s a continuation of the first wave relocating from a different geographical place. I don’t mean just to single out this article because numerous TV and radio newscasters, newspaper articles and websites worldwide are commonly using the same kind of wonky logic in connection with a so-called coronavirus second wave. When what they really mean is that the same source of the virus has either: (i)  lead to a continuation of cases from another location or (ii) made a reappearance after initial efforts for containment have only been partially successful.

Why do we describe resurgence in coronavirus cases in an inconsistent manner with the phrase “a second wave”? What has happened that we can’t agree on the meaning of a term that is so important to the coronavirus crisis?

My answer is after the page jump.

Continue reading “The Meaning of a COVID-19 Second Wave”