Skip to main content

COVID-19: The next wave is on its way in Europe and it may be similar to the first

Researchers predict that Europe will be hit by a new COVID-19 wave in September, and that it will subside after approx. two weeks.

By Birgitte Svennevig, , 7/30/2020

Around week 32-48, Europe risks being hit by a new wave of COVID-19, which could be as strong as the first to hit the continent in the spring.

This is predicted by Professor of Theoretical Physics, Francesco Sannino from the University of Southern Denmark. Together with colleagues Giacomo Cacciapaglia and Corentin Cot from the University of Lyons in France, he has developed a model that now projects the COVID-19 development in Europe for the rest of the year 2020.

‘Our simulation shows that we will face a similar number of infected as in the spring if we take the same precautions for social distance and introduce the same restrictions as we did during the first wave. If we do not do that, we risk even more infections ‘, he says.

Second wave after week 32

According to the model, the second wave in Europe will start at different times in different countries after week 32 and will fade after a few weeks. Same course as during the first wave, if precautions and restrictions are the same. Only after week 50 will the number of new infected again be as low as before week 30, when they slowly began to rise again.

The simulation is based on COVID-19 data from around the world and especially from the first wave. The scientific method of calculation is rooted in the methods of particle physics and is an extension of the ones used by epidemologists use to simulate the diseases dynamics within a country.

It determines the onset timing of the second wave due to the interplay with other regions of the world. The number of infected is based on the first wave including those that are not registered.

The model leaves no doubt that another, equally extensive wave will come if we do not tighten the measures that currently apply.

Francesco Sannino, Professor

After feeding the model with data, the researchers performed hundreds of simulations, each of which differs in terms of the human exchange across different European regions and the rest of the world affecting the onset and peak of the next wave.

The results as they are presented here are, in the case of the onsets, an average - it is therefore possible that the onsets and peaks may occur a few days (perhaps up to 14 days) before or after those stated here.

‘But the model leaves no doubt that another, equally extensive wave will come if we do not tighten the measures that currently apply ‘, says Francesco Sannino.

A premise of the model is also that there is no herd immunity.

European countries in the model

The countries included in the model are Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Most of them are expected to be hit by new COVID-19 waves in periods between September and December, especially between weeks 32 and 48.

‘Our model can be used by governments, the industry, citizens and the financial market to prepare and implement necessary local and global measures before the next wave hits ‘, says Francesco Sannino.

Francesco Sannino and colleagues presented a similar model in the spring 2020.

Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Meet the researcher

Francesco Sannino is a Professor of theoretical physics at University of Southern Denmark and head of the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics Phenomenology.


Second wave COVID-19 pandemics in Europe

The scientific model and the results are described in the scientific article “Second wave COVID-19 pandemics in Europe: A Temporal Playbook”, which is currently undergoing a so-called peer review, where scientific peers review the article and assess the quality of the research. See further information and country overview in the scientific article, where the researchers publish their work.

Download article

Editing was completed: 30.07.2020