CDC chief warns of second, more severe coronavirus outbreak this winter

CDC Director Robert Redfield says the upcoming flu season could rock the nation's healthcare system

A medical worker with ‘faith over fear’ on her mask pauses outside of a special coronavirus intake area in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The current coronavirus outbreak has no end in sight, yet the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is already sounding the alarm for a potential second wave this winter.

“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,” CDC Director Robert Redfield told the Washington Post on Tuesday.

“And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”

READ MORE: Are Black people negatively impacted by coronavirus overload?

The reality of America grappling with a still incurable infectious disease at the same time as the flu poses a great public health threat and could strain an already challenged healthcare system, Redfield cautioned.

(Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)

Thinking ahead, Redfield urged Americans to plan months in advance to get the flu shot. Doing so, he said, “may allow there to be a hospital bed available for your mother or grandmother that may get coronavirus.”

Redfield’s recommendation flies in the face of recent moves by the governors of Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee to either lift or significantly undo lockdown orders in an effort to open back up their local economies. This despite that the fact that COVID-19 infections continue to climb with no vaccine for the virus.

The decisions made by Republican leaders mirror President Donald Trump‘s public comments expressing his desire to reopen businesses, including tweets urging that states be “liberated” from restrictions. Trump also released guidelines on how states could loosen stay-at-home orders.

READ MORE: These three southern states will start easing coronavirus lockdowns

Redfield said that protests calling for the reopening of states are “not helpful.”

Georgia governor, Brian Kemp will allow indoor facilities like bowling alleys, gyms, and hair salons to start opening on Friday. Restaurants will open next week with new safety standards. All businesses are expected to continue to practice social distancing.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp attends the Election Night event at the Classic Center on November 6, 2018 in Athens, Georgia. Kemp is in a close race with Democrat Stacey Abrams. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The governor admitted that “we’re probably going to have to see our cases continue to go up,” but said the state was better equipped to address new outbreaks.

The reopening came as a surprise to Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms, who in an interview with CNN, stated that she had not talked to the governor prior to his announcement.

Tennessee governor, Bill Lee also announced on Monday that he would not be extending the state’s stay-at-home order beyond April 30. However, he did state that some precautions may need to remain in place especially in the state’s largest cities.

In a dramatic move, South Carolina governor Henry McMaster reopened some retail locations immediately following his Monday announcement. Clothing stores, furniture stores, and florists were able to open at 5 pm yesterday.

“We are still in a very serious situation…we must be sure that we continue to be strict and disciplined with our social distancing,” Gov. McMaster said at the press conference. “Our goal was to cause the most damage possible to the virus while doing the least possible damage to our businesses. South Carolina’s business is business.”

Biba Adams contributed to this report.