Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California will slowly be “reopening,” moving away from some of the restrictions placed on residents and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Relief from some of the restrictions placed to suppress the spread of the novel coronavirus raises some concerns and questions. At the top of the list is what can be done to prevent or at least contain to some degree a second COVID-19 wave.

Likelihood of Second COVID-19 Wave in California

Dr. Ali Khan is the former Director of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is one of the most knowledgeable experts in the United States, if not around the globe, when it comes to issues surrounding infectious diseases and the manner in which these contagions impact society. Dr. Khan unequivocally states that generally speaking a second COVID-19 wave is to be expected. Dr. Khan makes this prediction based on the medical reality that a majority of people across the United States, including in California, are at risk to contract COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. 

In providing this analysis, Dr. Khan makes a crucial point. States and localities have the ability and essential mandate to prepare for a second COVID-19 wave. Merely because a second wave is likely doesn’t mean that it will wash over communities everywhere and with equal severity. “Even though we call it a pandemic, it’s really multiple hundreds of different outbreaks in the U.S. going on at the same time. A lot of separate outbreaks will feel like sort of a second wave coming.”

What this means for California and local communities within the Golden State is that with proper planning and preemptive action, a COVID-19 second wave can be mitigated, at least to some meaningful degree. 

Six Elements of COVID-19 Second Wave Defense

According to Dr. Khan, and a myriad of other infectious diseases experts who’ve focused on the novel coronavirus, there are a half dozen core components of a COVID -19 second wave defense:

  • Testing
  • Contact tracing
  • Social distancing
  • Wearing masks
  • Washing hands
  • COVID-19 cleaning and disinfection


Without widespread testing, there is near unanimity among infectious disease experts that a second COVID-19 wave arises and it occurs with a vengeance. 

Contact Tracing

Infectious disease experts maintain that contact tracing must be diligently undertaken as states like California “open up” and some of the restrictions imposed as a means of slowing the spread of COVID-19 are lessened. Contact tracing has been used to combat infectious diseases in the United States and in other countries around the world. Indeed, although not yet widely underway in the United States, contact tracing is already underway in some countries in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Contact tracing involves trained individuals that conduct detailed interviews of people diagnosed with a contagious disease, in this case people who were diagnosed with COVID-19. The in-depth interviews are designed to identify people with whom these individuals have had recent contact. The interviewers then go to these other individuals, explain they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. During these second-line discussions, a recommendation is apt to be made for a 14-day self-quarantine. An attempt will be made to identify any individual that might have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The contact tracing might branch out from these contacts as well. 

Contact tracing was used as part of the ultimate response to the HIV-AIDS pandemic. Contact tracing has been described as the “cornerstone” of preventative medicine when involving infectious disease, according to Dr. Laura Breeher of the Mayo Clinic.

Social Distancing

Social distancing needs to be one of the firm pillars upon which a preemptive strategy against a second COVID-19 wave must be built. Yes, there will be some relaxation as to where and when people can be at the same location. With that said, even though people gradually will be able to return to different types of public settings, until a vaccine is developed, some level of social distancing is highly likely to remain a key element of the comprehensive equation implemented to stave off a major second COVID-19 wave. 

Wearing Masks

At the present time, a noticeable number of people are objecting to the idea of wearing masks as part of the effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. In fact, the use of masks among the general population is another prime element of a comprehensive strategy to lessen the prospect of a severe COVID-19 second wave. Wearing masks in public settings like stores and churches is likely to be part of the proverbial new norm until an effective vaccine is developed to prevent COVID-19 infection.

Washing Hands

A primary means of COVID-19 involves an element of “self-infection.” We now know that COVID-19 is capable of surviving on different types of surfaces for a period of time. There remain questions as to how long the virus can live on one type of surface or another. Nonetheless, people become infected everyday by touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching their noses, mouths, or eyes, and infecting themselves.

One of the best ways to combat COVID-19 infection is to regularly wash hands. Hand washing needs to be thorough and last for a minimum of 20 seconds. 

COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfection

As mentioned a moment ago, COVID-19 can remain viable or alive on surfaces and objects. In addition, there is a growing pool of evidence that suggests that the virus can remain in the air in ways not previously identified. It is important to note that there is no definitive date in regard to the virus being circulated through heating or cooling systems in a harmful manner. However, this does appear to be a possibility.

As a result of these types of COVID-19 transmissions, as California and other parts of the United States “reopen,” professional assistance from a reputable COVID-19 cleaning company becomes ever more important. Simply, a business arguably can only best protect its workers, patrons, vendors, and others by engaging a coronavirus cleaning and disinfection company on a regular, recurring basis 

The bottom line is that the gradual “reopening” of California and the rest of the nation doesn’t mean we are through the woods. Dr. Khan summed this up best when he said, “it’s important to recognize that we haven’t canceled the pandemic.”