As states rush to reopen, scientists fear a coronavirus comeback

Dozens of states are coming out of lockdown even as most have not met minimal criteria for doing so safely; some are reopening even as coronavirus cases rise. The much-feared "second wave" of infection may not wait until fall, many scientists say, and instead may become a storm of wavelets breaking unpredictably across the country.

Dozens of states are coming out of lockdown even as most have not met minimal criteria for doing so safely; some are reopening even as coronavirus cases rise. The much-feared "second wave" of infection may not wait until fall, many scientists say, and instead may become a storm of wavelets breaking unpredictably across the country. Scientists say the question is whether the nation can minimize the damage by intelligently adopting new tactics. Evidence is mounting that masks—if worn in public places, by everyone—are far more effective at stopping transmission than was previously realized. Across the nation, testing remains wholly inadequate, but home-use nasal swabs and saliva tests are on the way that may provide a clearer picture of where the virus is. Many models for safely reopening the economy have been issued, and most reopening criteria say that at a minimum a state should have 14 days of declining cases before it even considers reopening. Almost no state reopening now has met that low standard. Virtually all guidelines emphasize comprehensive testing and systematic contact tracing. At a minimum, a state must do enough random testing—including among people with no symptoms—to detect a surge of cases anywhere within its borders.