Dr. Rajeev Fernando is one of New York's top infectious disease specialists, and this week he talks about the start of a second COVID-19 wave, and we try to clear up the confusion on wearing masks.

When you need to know what's happening with the coronavirus, join KICKS 105.5 every Thursday morning. Dr. Rajeev Fernando answers your COVID-19 questions.

We've got the most COVID-19 cases since June here in Connecticut, is this what you would consider to be the start of a second wave?

"Yes, this is definitely the start of a second wave. In certain parts of the country, the number of cases did climb a bit over the last few months, but on the east coast, places like New York, New Jersey, and in Connecticut, where the cases actually went down to almost zero, what we called flattening the curve. So, any sort of spike in cases right now should be presumed as the second wave."

So, if we go back and look at the first round of the virus in late March, do you think it was a more powerful strand then what we're seeing now? Or do we just know how to treat the virus better since we're seeing the cases spike, but not the hospitalizations? 

"I'm so glad you brought up this question, I think this time around, we know what's happening. Back in March, we had no idea what was happening with the virus, it came out of nowhere. We didn't know how to treat it, we were trying all kinds of experimental drugs. Between then and now, we have discovered so many different treatments for the virus, we now know what we're dealing with. It's a very severe respiratory illness, and multi-system involvement, so we're going to look at things differently, we were waiting for this. I train my students and residents and tell them there's no need to be scared, it's not an invisible bug anymore, we know what it does. So, I think we have to be very confidant and go from there. The one thing that concerns me, I'm noticing a lot of mask fatigue, people just don't want to wear them anymore. I understand, hey it's not easy for me either, but it's just become part of my life, and that's the way everyone should approach it."

I'm glad you mentioned mask wearing, this is where I really get confused. The CDC just came out and said that masks don't work based on a small controlled study, so what's your professional opinion on this?

"I would say a year ago I would respect everything that comes out of a huge health organization like the CDC, but now, I would politely and respectfully say that they have done a disastrous job with handling the virus in this country from the get go. Even last year, I would look at the CDC, and their word would be golden. But they have flip flopped with so many of their recommendations, they really let us down. Now I often challenge the CDC if there's something I'm not happy with, like when they came out this week and said that masks are not effective. Clearly masks have shown that they do save lives, just look at all the studies that are out there which have proven that masks are very successful. It's the only thing we have until the vaccine comes out, and that's not coming out anytime soon".

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