Robert Redfield, director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Tuesday that the coronavirus could have a second wave worse than now. 

“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Redfield told the Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”

Redfield added, “We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.”

A wave of the coronavirus during flu season could severely strain the country’s healthcare system. Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, however, said she wasn’t sure if a second wave would be worse than what we’re seeing now. 

“I don’t know if it will be worse, I think this has been pretty bad,” Birx said at a White House press conference. “When you see what happened in New York, that was very bad….I believe that we’ll have early warning signals,” Birx added.

The coronavirus has affected almost 260,000 people in New York State, with over 144,000 patients in New York City alone.  

Birx added that medical systems would have to have testing procedures in place to separate flu and coronavirus patients. Redfield encouraged federal and state officials to prepare for more coronavirus outbreaks in the next coming months. 

CORONAVIRUS FAQ: WIKI OF MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

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