With much controversy surrounding the lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – Did they work? Are we ending them too soon? – many have questioned whether the United States would see a second wave of COVID-19.

Most experts believe that if a second wave occurs, fall is the most likely time. There won’t be nearly as many people in normally crowded places this summer, like airports. In the fall, schools and colleges will likely reopen, and people will be spending more time indoors. Plus, there will be an overlap with the seasonal flu.

Fortunately, based on the limited data we have, there isn’t a lot of evidence that this coronavirus is affected by seasonal change.

Still, with state governments easing lockdowns and other activity restrictions, it will be important to closely follow COVID-19 data – new cases, hospitalizations and deaths. If we start to see a large upturn, states might impose a second round of lockdowns to prevent overwhelm of the hospitals. Or if we can get data showing what activities lead to new cases, we could modify restrictions just for those high-risk activities and locations.

The best way to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 and the lockdowns that could come with it appears to be staying vigilant yourself. Wear masks, wash your hands frequently, avoid crowds, and do your best to remain physically distant whenever possible.