The World Health Organization described the COVID-19 pandemic as “one big wave” with no evidence that it follows seasonal variations.
Amid continued debates over what constitutes a second wave, a resurgence or seasonal return of the disease, Margaret Harris, a WHO Spokesperson, insisted that these discussions are not a helpful way to understand the spread of the disease.
“We are in the first wave. It’s going to be one big wave. It’s going to go up and down a bit. The best thing is to flatten it and turn it into just something lapping at your feet,” she said.
Pointing to high case numbers at the height of the U.S. summer, she urged vigilance in applying measures and warned against mass gatherings.
“People are still thinking about seasons. What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and…this one is behaving differently,” she added.
“Summer is a problem. This virus likes all weather.”
However, Harris expressed concern about COVID-19 cases coinciding with normal seasonal influenza cases during the southern hemisphere’s winter, and said the Geneva-based body was monitoring this closely.
So far, she said, laboratory samples are not showing high numbers of flu cases, suggesting a later-than-normal start to the season.
“If you have an increase in respiratory illness when you already have a very high burden of respiratory illness, that puts even more pressure on the health system,” she said, urging people to be vaccinated against flu.