A post on Facebook says that there is not an approaching “second wave” of Covid-19 infections. The author of the post appears to be based in Florida, but the post is also being shared in the UK.
We cannot fact check a prediction, because the future is unknown. This post might also be interpreted differently in Florida, the US and the UK, where the epidemic has risen and fallen at different times. (In Florida, cases have generally been declining since a peak in July, while in the US as a whole, cases have been rising again in recent weeks.)
However, we can say that there has been a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections in the UK since 1 September.
It’s hard to say whether this amounts to a “second wave”, because this phrase is not clearly defined. It is also possible that the number of daily infections may now rise more slowly, or start to fall, either because there’s been a change in people’s behaviour (by law or by choice) or for some other reason. But the number of daily infections did rise substantially in September.
Is this just a normal cold and flu season?
Some people infected with Covid-19 experience a cough or a high temperature, which are similar to some cold or flu symptoms. There may also be a rise in the number of colds and flu infections, which is common in the colder part of the year. This means that if you were just looking at symptoms, it could be harder to tell whether more people were getting Covid-19 or other respiratory diseases.
But the rise in recent cases is based on positive tests, not just symptoms, and if someone tests positive for Covid-19 then they are very likely to have the disease itself.
We’ve previously fact checked a false claim that tests for Covid-19 can’t tell the difference between SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) and some other common types of coronavirus that cause the common cold. This is not true of the PCR tests that are used for most testing in the UK. They are specific to SARS-CoV-2 and will not return many false positives.
Altogether there is very strong evidence that the current rise in Covid-19 cases is real, rather than simply reflecting the normal cold and flu season.
This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here.
For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context
because there is good evidence of a rise in Covid-19 infections
You’ve probably seen a surge in misleading and unsubstantiated medical advice since the Covid-19 outbreak. If followed, it can put lives at serious risk. We need your help to protect us all from false and harmful information.
We’ve seen people claiming to be health professionals, family members, and even the government – offering dangerous tips like drinking warm water or gargling to prevent infection. Neither of these will work.
The longer claims like these go unchecked, the more they are repeated and believed. It can put people’s health at serious risk, when our services are already under pressure.
Today, you have the opportunity to help save lives. Good information about Covid-19 could be the difference between someone taking the right precautions to protect themselves and their families, or not. Could you help protect us all from false and harmful information today?