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Coronavirus in U.S. likely to resurge in the fall, virologist predicts

Americans will likely see a second wave of coronavirus in the fall as Hong Kong experiences its third — a fate that could only be avoided with aggressive lockdown and testing protocols, a Boston-area virologist said.

“I expect COVID-19 to subside in the summer, largely because the virus does not live as long outside during hot weather,” said virologist Dr. Jack Regan, CEO and founder of Beverly-based LexaGene, which is making a coronavirus pathogen detection system.

“I really think the virus is just starting to get going and this could get really bad in the fall,” said Regan.

Regan said the virus will continue to spread “rampantly” in the United States unless much more aggressive testing, contact tracing and long-term social distancing measures are put into place.

“We need to mimic what China has done and we are nowhere close, so we will suffer the consequences,” said Regan.

In a Wednesday night press conference, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said coronavirus “very well might” be cyclical.

“We really need to be prepared for another cycle,” said Fauci.

Hong Kong has already fallen victim to a third wave of coronavirus cases, the region’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said in a Saturday press conference.

“The first wave was the worries of transmissions from mainland … The second wave was the local transmissions … Now we are facing the third wave,” said Lam, attributing the third wave to Hong Kong residents returning from abroad.

The majority of Hong Kong’s civil servants returned to work March 2, CNN reported, but about two weeks later cases started to pick up again and people went back to working from home.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is keeping tabs on what has been happening in Hong Kong.

“We’re looking at different countries, Hong Kong was able to seem to capture in the very beginning, the shelter in place, and kind of spear off the rise of the coronavirus,” said Walsh in a Wednesday press conference.

“Then everyone came out again and now we’re seeing spikes in Hong Kong so I think we’ll watch what happens around the country and around the world,” said Walsh.

There are 410 cases of coronavirus in Hong Kong and four people have died, a Johns Hopkins University tracker shows.

Cases in the United States rose to more than 54,000 on Wednesday and 737 people have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Other pandemics have resurged over time.

Data from the CDC shows the first wave of the 1918 influenza outbreak happened in the spring with a second wave occurring in the fall, which was responsible for most of the deaths attributed to the pandemic.

The third and final wave happened in winter 1918 and finally subsided in the summer of the following year. About a third of the entire world population was infected with the 1918 flu virus and at least 50 million people died.